We flew into Orlando the day before we set sail, rented a car and drove to Cape Canaveral to spend the night. We dined at a local restaurant Gregory's (excellent) and stayed at the Marriott. The next day we spent some time at Cocoa Beach and then headed over to Enterprise to return our car. Enterprise in Cape Canaveral was great because they shuttled us right to the Port and dropped us off right in front of the ship. It was also less expensive than the ground transfers that Disney offered.
Boarding the ship went very smoothly. We loved how the crew publicly welcomed our family by name as we stepped into the atrium on the ship. Our rooms (we booked two) were ready right away, so we dropped off our carry-ons and met our room steward. We then headed up to the Lido deck for lunch.
Food: We dined the majority of the time in the rotating restaurants. The quality and selection was outstanding. My youngest son loved the shrimp, so each night our Head Waiter made sure we had some at the table. My spouse and I also dined in their adult restaurant, Palo and enjoyed the food. One tip for future Disney sailors, do book your reservation for Palo before you get on the ship. We were one of the first families onboard and they were almost completely booked up.
Children's Programs: Excellent! Our 7 year old had the best time and each day/night he did participate in his club, we'd have to drag him out. Our 9 year old had a great time as well. Our 13 year old was a little disappointed that she wasn't part of the Teen Club, "The Stack." She was instead in another club "Ocean Quest", 11-13 year olds. Prior to sailing, we had no indication that she'd be in the Ocean Quest group. Disney said that they were just making this change to their ships. They had too many complaints from parents saying that 13-17 was too broad of an age span. Of course, my spouse and I were actually relieved that she was in a more age appropriate club but she was a little disappointed with the change since there was no communication about it ahead of time.
Ports: We loved St. Maarten. The shopping, food and beaches (Dutch side, not French) were wonderful. St. Thomas was beautiful. We did excursion over the Trunk Bay on St. John for snorkeling and beach time - which was breathtaking. This we did book the excursion through Disney. Finally, we enjoyed Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. We weren't sure exactly what to expect but we had a fantastic time. The family beach was a little crowed by late afternoon but you could still find available chairs and umbrellas (which cost nothing.)
Weather: We can't complain with upper 60's to lower 80's throughout the trip. However, we did have some rain one day and some colder wind due to the cold fronts continually moving through the U.S. and then heading south through the Caribbean. I'm not sure we'd cruise again in January because of the uncertainly with the weather. It's risk on any vacation but you can't quite get away from those cold fronts during the winter months.
Overall, we had a wonderful time! Disney did a fantastic job and we were so impressed with the ship's layout, decor and cleanliness. The length of the cruise was great, as well as the port destinations. We highly recommend Disney Cruise Line to any family. You definitely get what you pay for.