I will say my husband and I look for the value in our vacations.
Heck with five kids you have to these days.
I will start with the negatives since that is what is foremost in my mind. I didn't think Disney was a good value for one specific reason. The food. The food was not that great. Sure they had the standard kid fare that my boys enjoyed. But the adult meals were mediocre. They tried to make things look "gourmet" but they tasted bland. I will say most of the soups and salads served were tasty. I do understand it is a great feat to feed so many people on the ship. But I honestly expected better food. Also, while I like the idea of the wait staff rotating with you every night to the different restaurants...you would think that service would improve as they got to know you. They understood that I had an iced tea with dinner every night...but every night I would have to ask for sweetener three times till they brought it. It was a simple attention to detail thing More
and did honestly get a little annoying. We tipped everyone what Disney recommended at the last nights dinner. For everyone this was over $650. When we arrived at breakfast that next morning our wait staff's entire demeanor had changed. They were less attentive. We had to ask multiple times for things. Brought duplicate drinks or the wrong drinks. I wonder if it was a simple case of "I got my tip so I am done being nice" or "I wanted more of a tip". I can only hope they were upset that another table didn't tip them and that was carrying over to us. But it was disappointing that have the be the end impression of our trip.
As for the ship itself it was beautiful. Brand spanking new and sparkling. Everything was well maintained and cleaned. They cleaned all the time. It was nice seeing it but didn't prevent the Norwalk Virus from hitting us. Fortunately, it spread through the family vary fast on a sea day so that even though I wasn't feeling the best I was able to enjoy Castaway Cay. I will blame my 3 year old who doesn't seem to understand that he needs to keep his hands out of his mouth. Even with repeat hand washing....Bleach is the only thing that kills that virus so I am not surprised we got it. This isn't the ships fault. They do and try to prevent this.
I wasn't too impressed with the only port I got off at, Grand Cayman. Our excursion was fun except for the fact I stepped into a hole getting onto the submarine boat. I threw out my elbow to protect my infants head and banged it up. They boat staff did NOTHING to help me. Not even provide a band aide until we asked. When we got back to the ship my husband insisted I see the ship medic to make sure it wasn't broken. (It was a swollen bloody mess). The medic station is separate from the Disney Line and said they would have to charge me $150 to see me even though I was injured on a excursion booked through Disney. I opted to take some band aides, Iodine and ice packs from them instead. Fortunately, they didn't bill me for them.
My husband and mother got off the ship in Costa Maya and Cozumel. Our beach excursion was cancelled and refunded for Cozumel which was fine by me. While they got off and shopped. I stayed on the ship and the kids and I took advantage of the nearly empty ship and I dropped the kids off at the club while I took a nap with our baby.
This leads me into the kids clubs. They were great. The ratio of counselors to kids is amazing. The programming and activities for them were also great. My 3 yo wasn't too keen on staying there but once we peeled him off of me and handed him over he was fine. But getting him to go voluntarily didn't happen. :)
I even reserved time for my 10 month old in the nursery. They were capable and competent. Be aware that you may need 15-20 min additional to drop off in the nursery because of the questions and checklists they use. I do wish it was more of a "drop in basis" and didn't cost extra.
My 14 year old loved the Vibe and really spent most of his time there. Hence he was the only one that didn't get sick from us. :)
Security. I was very concerned about the safety on the ship. But the main decks that the kids accessed were enclosed. There were very few areas that my kids went to that they could get in trouble. I did book and inside stateroom for this reason. I just didn't want to have to worry about it. There are always staff around to help or supervise. I thought that Disney did this very well.
I can't say it was much of a vacation for the adults....but then again maybe I had high "magical" expectations. We had meltdowns. Tantrums..etc...but then I guess we did that to ourselves with over tired and over stimulated kids.
Would I do it again? Nope. Not worth the money IMHO. But then again I don't think this fit my family. I am glad we went. But I think that those with maybe two kids that are older and can "free roam" would benefit more from this type of vacation. Less