Boarding was very smooth, overall wait of 30 minutes. When we entered the ship, I got goosebumps as they announced "Disney Wonder, please welcome the Biggs family!" As we entered the ship, we headed out for the Mickey pool. We found a great spot to watch our kids play and began to relax immediately. Our room was ready at 2:00. When we walked in, we were shocked by the amount of space we had. I had been nervous about how tight the room would be with 5 of us in a single stateroom. We were on the 8th floor and had a veranda, which we used a lot. The queen size bed, pull down bunk, murphy wall bed and reversible sofa, gave us a feeling of a great amount of space. We loved that there was the pull-back curtain which allows you to separate the room into two areas (perfect for nap time, or those that wake up early). I had read a lot ahead of time and brought along magnetic items to decorate our stateroom door.
We loved all of the shows on the ship, my boys loved the Toy Story Musical and my daughter's favorite was the Enchanted Dreams show. I love that Disney allows you to bring adult beverages on board and doesn't charge you a fee for doing so because this saved us a lot of money. The dining rooms are great and some offer live entertainment. Another great thing about dinner is that your kids can join you for dinner and then head off to the club or lab with a DCL staff member so that you can finish your meal. Dinners in Triton and Animator's take about an hour and forty five minutes, which gets very long for little ones. They were very accommodating in getting our kids dinners that were not exactly what they listed on the menu. We also decided to skip dinner one night and headed to the sports bar area (I forget the name) and watched a NCAA March Madness game while eating wings and nachos. All of the food in this area is free but they do charge for drinks. About drinks, I really love that DCL does not charge you for sodas! This is very helpful when you have a teenager, as is the ice-cream spots that are self-serve, he loved that. There are so many opportunities to meet the characters and they are so patient and interactive with every kid (not like at the theme parks). We had the chance to meet all of the princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Sofia and Jake. I love all of the different outfits that they wear throughout the cruise. The onboard shopping was great, although they ran out of Frozen merchandise quickly just like other disney stores. I did appreciate that the Alex and Ani disney bracelets are cheaper onboard than they are online. The movie theatre on board was excellent and we took advantage of that to see a couple of movies. We were very fortunate to have a premEAR of The Muppets Most Wanted on the last night of the cruise, and that was a special time for my teenager and I. So kids ages 3-7 have the club and the lab which they love! Kids 11-14, can hang out in Edge which offers lots of group activities, including video game challenges and gender wars. Vibe is similar to Edge but geared toward 14-18 year olds. Kids ages 3-7 have secure check in and out of areas so they aren't wondering the ship and moms and dads don't have to worry but the older kids have a lot of freedom. This is where the wave phones (portable phones) come in a lot of handy. These helped us all stay in touch. Our teen always had one and we had one so that we could all stay connected. This was also helpful when we wanted to meet up for certain activities and shows.
We arrived in Cozumel and took a taxi to Chankanaab, to participate in Dolphin Discovery. We booked this excursion on our own and while we were there, added a zip lining adventure for our teenager, which he loved doing. The park was great, and we loved swimming and getting kisses from the Dolphins. We did a little port shopping and grabbed a latte before heading back to the ship. Days at sea were great, one night was really rocky but that is not anything they could help. We also went to Castaway Cay and again, I love that so much of the activities were included and not an extra charge. Also, there were SO many characters on the island, and it was so easy for the kids to meet them, get autographs and take photos. We saw Chip & Dale, Captain Hook, Mickey, Pluto without waiting at all. The kids clubs that they take onto the island were fun for our kids too. We had them go in for an hour while my hubby and I rented bikes to explore the island. This was a great way to get around and see some of the island (nice lookout tower) but I do wish we would have been able to go on a longer trail. When we went to pick the kids up from Scuttles Cove, they begged us to stay, but we took them out. They had an awesome water park area and double water slide ( also included). We brought our own snorkeling equipment and my husband enjoyed snorkeling in the water. We rented an aqua trike to ride out on the water but it was a lot more leg work, than I was planning on. It was worth it though because it was peaceful and gave a different glance at the island and at the crystal clear water below us.
The pirate party in the caribbean was a lot of fun . The adult trivia and 80's flashback stuff was fun too. We loved playing BINGO with our kids and the staff kept it fun and exciting for the adults and the kids. The staff on board was in true Disney form, all of them were extra cheery, polite and really seemed to enjoy their jobs.
When we read up on Disney Cruise Lines prior to cruising we read about joining a fish extender group. After finding a DISboards discussion thread about fish extenders, we joined the group for our cruise. This is a group that makes/create/buys something (or in some cases something different for each person) that they share with the other members of the fish extender group. We searched fish extenders on Pinterest and found options for the pockets to hold the items as well as items to make/create and buy. Some of the favorite things we received were magnets that were personalized with our names, or with the ship name and the sail dates. The fish extender trade/exchange really added a special element to our cruise. The kids loved coming back to the room in the middle of the day or at night to find a special surprise in their pocket. It was also really fun to make and then deliver our items to the other rooms. We broke it up so that we delivered one thing to just kids on the 2nd day, one thing to the parents on the 3rd day and one thing to the kids on the 4th day. This along with our decorated door, really added a personal touch.
This was the most amazing cruise we could ask for. Being a family of 5 with kids ranging from 14 to 4, it is tough to plan a family vacation that everyone will enjoy equally. This is the best family vacation we have ever done and I cannot wait to book another Disney Cruise with my family!