Tag Archives: travel with kids

Disney Dream Cruise Ship - 10 Favourite Things

Disney Dream Cruise Ship – 10 Favourite Things

10 Reasons We Love Sailing Aboard The Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Here are our 10 favourite reasons why we loved sailing aboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship and what makes the Disney Cruise Line so special for family vacations.


The AquaDuck is a water slide that runs right around the midship of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. This is a favourite activity for both kids and adults. It can get very busy at times, so be prepared to wait in a queue. The queues are usually much shorter while the ship is docked at port (especially Castaway Cay).

Watch our YouTube video of the Disney Dream AquaDuck Water Slide here.


The Mickey Pool and Donald’s Pool areas are good for the kids to cool off and enjoy watching a movie at the same time. The water slide is only recommended for guests aged between 4 to 14.

Adults can escape the family pool area if they need some relaxation time and head to the Quiet Cove Pool which is exclusively for adults only.

Goofy’s Sports Deck

Sports lovers can enjoy Goofy’s Sports Deck located on Deck 13 of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. Here they can shoot some hoops on the basketball court, enjoy a round of mini-golf or have a game of ping-pong or foosball.

There is even a virtual sports simulator available (charges apply for the simulator).

You can see our YouTube video of Goofy’s Sports Deck here.

Kids Clubs

The kids clubs aboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship are so good that your little darlings will never want to leave them! We hardly ever saw our boys as they were always off doing activities and playing games at one of the kids clubs.  You can grant self check-out access to kids aged 8 upwards so the parents do not even need to be at drop-off or pick-up.

There are kids clubs suitable for all ages.

It’s a Small World Nursery – suitable for youngsters aged 6 months – 3 years.

Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Lab suitable for 3-12 year olds and featuring themed play spaces including;

  • Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – kids can learn to train like a Jedi and take control of the Millennium Falcon.   
  • Andy’s Room – the world of Toy Story comes to life and kids can play with larger-than-life characters, including Rex the dinosaur, Hamm the piggy bank and Mr. Potato Head.
  • Disney Infinity Game Room – not just any ordinary interactive video game area.
  • Pixie Hollow – a magical fairyland inspired by Tinkerbell.

Edge – a tween activity and chill out zone for kids aged 11-14.

Vibe  – a cool hangout for teenagers aged 14-17.

There is even a kids club on Castaway Cay called Scuttles Cove.

Castaway Cay

Most of the Disney Dream Cruises sail the Bahamas and stop at Disney’s own private Island called  Castaway Cay.

On Castaway Cay there are a variety of activities and excursions you can book or otherwise you can just relax on the beach. There is a family beach section as well as the adults only Serenity Bay. There are cabanas available for rental, but you do have to book these online months in advance to secure one.

For the family beach goers there is the Pelican Plunge Water Slide to enjoy as well as a climbing and swinging frame that the kids love. Be sure to bring some goggles though as the water is very salty for the kids eyes.  You can also rent swimming gear such as swimming masks, snorkels and inner tube floats. Swimming vests are provided for free in all swimming areas.

Activities on Castaway Cay that can be booked include banana boat rides, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, glass bottom boat cruises, swimming with stingrays, jet skis plus much more.

See our YouTube clip of the Pelican Plunge Water Slide here.

For a look at our YouTube clip of Disney’s Castaway Cay Island click here.

Rotational Dining

A great aspect of Disney Cruises is the rotational dining so you get to try out the different themed restaurants. Our favourite was Animator’s Palate where the Interactive Finding Nemo characters make for a fun night. If you’re really lucky you might get to have a totally awesome conversation with Crush the Turtle.

The other rotational restaurants on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship are the Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace.

There are also two adults only fine dining restaurants that you can book for an additional fee which are Remy and Palo.

Unlimited Ice-Cream

Kids love this part of the Disney Dream, the help yourself soft serve Eye-Scream machines. Located near the family pool area, its hard to keep them away from these!

Even while at Castaway Cay the kids don’t miss out on any ice-cream, there’s soft serve machines on the island too.

Movies and Shows

There is no shortage of opportunities to watch one of your favourite Disney movies.  Buena Vista Theatre screens first run features as well Disney classics daily.  Walt Disney Theatre is home to full production live theatre entertainment. Even if you are relaxing in your stateroom you can watch on-demand Disney movies and TV favourites.

Not to mention the Disney movies continuously playing at the pool area.

Disney Characters

The Disney characters on board the Disney Cruise make for a lot of fun times for the kids. There are daily character dance parties and It all kicks off  with the Sailing Away Celebration Dance Party.

We loved Mickey’s Halloween Dance Parties during the Halloween on the High Seas Cruises.

See our YouTube clip of Mickey’s Halloween Dance Party here.

There are plenty of character appearances on board the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. You do however need to reserve your meet and greet tickets online prior to sailing for a guaranteed meeting with your favourite character.


We like to purchase the souvenir cocktail glasses (plastic not glass) with the cocktail of the day at the sailing away party and then all refills throughout the cruise are available at a cheap duty-free price.  There are also specialty cocktail making and tasting classes that you can attend throughout the cruise (fee applies). Us adults found these a lot of fun, we especially loved the mixology class which was held in the Skyline Bar.


As you can see, the Disney Dream Cruise Ship has so many activities to provide both kids and adults with the most magical family holiday.

You can also read our other posts about our Disney Dream Cruise Ship experiences;

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Concierge Level

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Concierge Level

Concierge Level aboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

If you’re planning to sail on a Disney Cruise you’ll notice when booking that one of the options are Concierge Staterooms and Suites. We have now sailed twice at Concierge level so we thought we would share the benefits of sailing Concierge and what exactly you get for paying a little extra.

Before You Cruise

Disney Concierge services are available to help you plan your cruise starting 120 days prior to your sailing date. This gives Concierge guests first access to all bookings including shore excursions, spa appointments and restaurant reservations. If you’re sailing on a cruise visiting Disney’s Castaway Cay you can also book the highly sought after and hard to get cabanas.

These Concierge services are accessed through a dedicated toll-free number for U.S. residents which is available from 8.30am to 5.30pm every day of the week. For Non-U.S. residents like us, there is a specific email address you use to can contact the Concierge team.

Disney will also post official documents and luggage tags about six weeks prior to cruise departure.

Boarding Day

Unlike other passengers who will be allocated a port arrival time, Concierge guests have priority boarding. With a separate check-in area at the port terminal, there is not much wait time until you are ready to board. On our last Disney Dream Cruise we were the very first family to board which the kids were extremely excited about!

Usually boarding commences around 11.30am and you are whisked up to the Concierge Lounge (located on level 12 on the Disney dream). Here you meet & greet with the lounge staff who will be looking after all your requests during your cruise.

Concierge Lounge

Open from 7.00am to 10.00pm the lounge provides complimentary food and beverages throughout the day.  Staff members are always around to help with any questions about the ship or if you need any reservations made.

Continental breakfast is served from 7.00am to 10.30am and then snacks are available throughout the day. There is bottled water and soft drinks which you can also take back to your room if preferred. Everyone loves the lounge coffee machine which was very popular.

There is a nightly Concierge Cocktail evening reception which provides canapés, desserts and complimentary alcoholic beverages from 5.00pm to 10.00pm.

Concierge Lounge Private Sun Deck

Located on Deck 13 just upstairs from the lounge is a private sun deck for Concierge guests to enjoy. This is a great private area if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cruise. It even has its own relaxing hot tub.

No need to bring sunscreen – its all supplied on the deck along with towels, Evian water spray bottles and even sunglass lens cleaners.

Even the bathrooms  are pretty fancy!

On the second afternoon of the cruise there is a Concierge Afternoon Soiree from 4.00pm to 5.00pm which is a gathering to mingle with your fellow Concierge guests. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are served during this hour.

On another afternoon there is a private meet and greet with a Disney character on the deck. On our first cruise it was Goofy and on our second cruise we got to meet Minnie Mouse.

Rooms & Suites

Concierge level rooms are only located on decks 11 and 12 of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. Room types available are:

Other On-Board Benefits

  • Limited Edition Lithographic Print delivered to your room at the end of the cruise as a gift from the Concierge team.
  • In-room treats and surprises.
  • Complimentary bags of popcorn to take to the theatres.
  • Complimentary internet package of 100 megabytes per stateroom.


While it does cost more we have to say that we love sailing Concierge level. Having that little extra service available can sometimes be priceless as we discovered on our last cruise.

Our last cruise was just in front of Hurricane Irma and got cut short by one day. Once it was announced that we would be disembarking a day earlier, the Concierge staff were just unbelievable. Guests were able to call hotels, airlines, transport companies or anyone else people needed to contact. Extra laptops and phone lines were set up in the lounge for guests to make alternative arrangements to leave Orlando once disembarked.

We realised how valuable this was when we walked past guest services not long after the announcement and the queues were so long that they would have been waiting for hours.

We can’t wait to sail again on another Disney Cruise – next time we will be on the Disney Wonder for the first time.

Aquatica Water Park Orlando, Florida, USA

Aquatica Orlando Water Park

Review of Aquatica Water Park in Orlando, Florida, USA

Aquatica Water Park is operated by SeaWorld and is definitely worth visiting when exploring the city of Orlando. There were plenty of rides that the whole family could enjoy and our two boys aged 9 & 11 absolutely loved it here.

Cabana Rental

We arrived right at opening time which for the day we visited was 10.00am. First stop for us was to guest services to see if we could still rent a cabana (these can also be done online prior to visiting the park). Luckily it was a good time of year to visit as it was off-peak season and a weekday so the park was pretty quiet. We had a choice of a cabana at either Cutback Cove or Roa’s Rapids. We chose one at Cutback Cove at the bargain rate of $49 (you can pay over $200.00 for these in peak season).

The Cutback Cove are was nice and shaded and very private with a host always around checking to make sure those that entered the area had the appropriate wristband on. Rental of a cabana includes;

  • Rental towels
  • All day locker rental
  • Refrigerator with 12 bottles of complimentary water
  • 20% discount at gift shops

For the off-peak price of $49 we would highly recommend renting one of the cabanas, probably wouldn’t pay the high peak season prices though. It was definitely good value for us when you take into consideration that locker rental is either $10 or $15 and towel rental is $5 each.

Dolphin Plunge Waterslide

Before you get too excited about the much hyped Dolphin Plunge waterslide, be aware that you can’t really see the black & white Commerson Dolphins while you are going down the slide as you are travelling too fast to find them. There is a big viewing window where you can watch them play around in their pod though. You can watch our Dolphin Plunge YouTube video here.

Cutback Cove Wave Pool

This popular area has two wave pools side by side (only Cutback Cove was open when we visited – Big Surf Shores was closed).


Roa’s Rapid Rivers

This is no lazy river, you travel at good speed around Roa’s Rapids and it’s even more fun when you put on a swim vest and just get pulled through the rapids.

Walkabout Waters

A perfect area for active kids, this Walkabout Waters adventure playground will keep them busy for hours. You can watch our YouTube video of Walkabout Waters & Roa’s Rapids here.

Kata’s Kookaburra Cove

Kata’s Kookaburra Cove is a great area for the younger kids who can’t ride the bigger slides.

Loggerhead Lane

Grab a tube and head around this lazy river and through the tropical fish grotto. Loggerhead Lane also connects to the Tassie Twister Waterslides.

Ihu’s Breakaway Falls

Test out your bravery with these not to be missed free fall drop slides. You can choose which one of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls you dare to ride (purple one is not a drop down one if you can’t face the free fall drop) and the green one is the easiest to ride.

Other Rides at Aquatica

  • Hooroo Run – good waterslide but ride early as it gets a queue later in the day.
  • Walhalla Wave – great family waterslide but ride early as it gets a queue later in the day.
  • Taumata Racer – closed for maintenance when we visited.
  • Omaka Rocka – this one is a bit bumpy, probably our least favourite ride.
  • Whanau Way – four waterslides that go different speeds, the boys enjoyed this one.

Dining at Aquatica

Aquatica has a strict outside food & beverage policy so it may be necessary to purchase food inside the park. While there are plenty of snack food outlets there is also the option of Banana Beach dining which is all-day unlimited food and sodas.


We rode every waterslide together as a family then we were comfortable enough with the park size and amount of lifeguards to let the kids roam free and do as they wanted. The adults then retreated back to the cabana for a little bit of afternoon relaxation time – a perfect day out for all of us! We would definitely return to Aquatica on our next trip to Orlando.

You can watch our YouTube Video of SeaWorld’s Aquatica Water Park in Orlando – featuring Kata’s Kookaburra Cove, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls and Cutback Cove Wave Pool.

We had 14 days unlimited access to Aquatica Water Park and SeaWorld Orlando as part of our Discovery Cove package.

For more information on Aquatica Water Park in Orlando, go to www.aquaticabyseaworld.com

When visiting Aquatica we stayed at the Hilton Orlando which as you can see below is not far from the water park and you get great views of the resort from Ihu’s Breakaway Falls.

Aquatica Water Park Orlando, Florida

View of Hilton Orlando from Ihu’s Breakaway Falls


SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando in Florida, USA

SeaWorld Orlando is one of the biggest attractions in town and provides a fun-filled day for the whole family. We visited in the off-peak season on a weekday and it was a really comfortable crowd, not too busy at all with very little wait times for rides.

While there are some great rides at SeaWorld Orlando, the real stars of the SeaWorld experience are the animals and shows. Our advice is to get there early, right at opening time and ride the roller coasters first, then plan the rest of your day around the show times. Show times and park hours vary daily so be sure to check before you arrive.

One Ocean Shamu Killer Whale Show

Watch in awe as you learn all about these majestic creatures of the ocean.

Blue Horizons Dolphin Show

This show is not just about the amazing dolphin performances, it also features colourful theatrical acrobats as well as talented tropical birds.

Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High Show

A very funny and entertaining show that the whole family will love – featuring sea lions, otters and even a walrus.

Pets Ahoy Show

Witness the clever tricks performed by cats, dogs, birds and other pets that have been rescued from local animal shelters.

Thrill Rides

  • Manta – This coaster makes you feel like you are flying through the air at high speeds head first.  Watch our YouTube video of Manta here.  You can also stop by the Manta Aquarium after the ride.
  • Mako – Newly opened in June 2016, this ride is named after the fastest species of shark. This is the longest, fastest and tallest roller coaster in Orlando.
  • Kraken – Named after the legend of the Kraken Sea Monster, this is Orlando’s only floorless roller coaster.
  • Journey to Atlantis – Prepare to get wet on this water flume ride that travels through the sunken city of Atlantis.

Shamu’s Happy Harbour

The little ones will love the children’s play area of SeaWorld Orlando called Shamu’s Happy Harbour . There’s quite a few rides as well as a huge climbing area to keep them entertained. If the kids bring their bathers they can also play in a splash zone to keep cool in the Orlando heat.

You can see our YouTube video of Shamu’s Happy Harbour.

Animal Exhibits

SeaWorld Orlando is home to an array of animal attractions including;

  • Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
  • Turtle Trek
  • Shark Encounter
  • Flamingo Cove
  • Dolphin Nursery
  • Manta Aquarium
  • Stingray Lagoon
  • Wild Arctic

There is of course plenty of restaurants and eateries as well as quite a few shopping areas – and you just never know who you might bump into!

For more information on SeaWorld Orlando visit their website www.seaworld.com

We had unlimited access to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Water Park for 14 consecutive days included as part of our Discovery Cove ticket package.