There comes a time for every parent when you have to take a vacation that’s just for the kids. A time to press pause on your dream of touring every brewery in Belgium or hiking the Inca Trail, because, well, those little people in your life. Some of you parents might be able to convince your kids to go to an all-inclusive in Mexico (lucky) or a family campsite in Maine. But my kids wanted only to go on the Disney Cruise.
I tried to dissuade them. I told them they might get boat-sick (#badmom), and wouldn’t they enjoy a spa weekend better? But after many months of begging, and watching them squirrel away their allowance money to pay “their share” ($80.46 didn’t quite cover it), I gave in. We were headed for the big, Mouse-eared boat.
The truth is, it didn’t suck. In fact, it was kind of fun. And I learned a few things that will help make the next Disney Cruise (omg, did I just really say that?) even better. Here’s how to survive a Disney Cruise with your kids.
1. Adjust your expectations. You’re not going to the spa. Or beer tasting in Belgium. You’re going to a place filled with kids. Once you wrap your head around the fact that this vacation is more about them than you, you can stop resenting them and start enjoying your time together as a family. The plus-side about being around so many kids? You might realize yours are actually better behaved than you thought. And if they’re not, just blame it on them “being under the influence” so to speak.
2. Travel with friends. You need to take a Disney Cruise. They need to take a Disney cruise. So take a Disney Cruise together! Not only are friends good company, they can help out in sharing the kid-load, so you can fit in a shower without your toddler clawing at you. Plus, it’s a lot harder to pick a fight with your partner when there’s another couple sitting next to you at dinner.
3. Come prepared. Wait, you’re not a Disney expert? Neither was I, and yet, preparation for the Disney Cruise is sort of essential. Thankfully, there are entire travel agencies that specialize in this stuff. My amazing agent Mouse World Travel was the keeper of all sorts of Disney Cruise secrets, from which deck we should stay on, to how to get facetime with Cinderella, to what we should use to decorate our hotel room door (yes, it’s a THING).
4. Take advantage of the Kids Club. There is a magical place on every Disney Cruise that is colorful and clean and takes your children off your hands for hours at a time… and they don’t even miss you. Drop them off at Kids Club for a few hours and hit the adults-only pool or make a reservation at one of the high-end restaurants on board. The food is actually really good, and of course, everything tastes better when your kids aren’t there.
5. Remember you’re doing it for them. You are literally making their dreams come true. And there’s nothing better than making your kids’ dreams come true. If only it was this easy to make our own dreams come true, right?
Image via Disney Cruise Line.