Disney's greatest advantage is the abundance of choices you have for spending time together as a family, as well as spending it apart in age-specific activities.
As for the children's programs, Disney offers programming for babies as young as 12-weeks-old right on up through teens, with a few advantages like Wave Phones (with text-messaging so pre-teens and teens can let parents know where they'll be), and flexible age groupings. Children who want to move from the Club to Lab are escorted by Disney staffers, so parents don't get called back if a child gets bored.
Unique to the Alaska cruises are Junior Ranger programs held in the kids clubs, Studio Sea and Disney Theater, where children can learn about Alaskan wildlife and the environment.
Because Disney's kids program is so comprehensive, we detail each below:
Flounder's Reef Nursery: Flounder's Reef (one of just a few nurseries at sea) is designed for babies and toddlers (ages 12 weeks up to 3 years old) with Little Mermaid-themed bubble murals, popular toys from Hasbro and plenty of your typical infant swings and bouncy chairs. Head to the nursery as soon as you board and decide what time slots you'd like. They go quickly. Fee is $9 per hour ($8 per hour for each additional child). The ratio of counselors to children is 1 to 4 for infants and 1 to 6 for toddlers. Disney has an online service that allows passengers to order baby supplies in advance of their cruise and have them delivered to their stateroom (provided by Babies Travel Lite). There are over 1,000 brand-name baby products to choose from, including diapers, baby food, infant formula and specialty travel items.
Oceaneer Club, Ages 3 - 7: A separate schedule of events is planned for ages 3 - 4 and 5 - 7 with some overlap during the day. Activities vary from The Nestle Jr. Chef Experience where kids get to make their own chocolate chip cookies, to creating sticky green Flubber, a goo made with a special ingredient: pixie dust. Kids also get plenty of free play time on the enormous indoor pirate ship, complete with slides, tunnels and climbing areas, or they can put together a giant Mr. Potato Head.
Oceaneer Lab, Ages 8 - 12: As is the case with Oceaneer Club, the Lab plans for ages 8 - 9 and 10 - 12, with some overlap. In addition to "Pajamarama" pizza parties, a giant video wall with wireless controllers, and several computer stations with "family-rated" software, the Lab offers kids 8 and 9 a chance to make their own TV commercials and soap cars to race in the Piston Cup Championship. A new computer simulator with four levels of difficulty allows children to see what it's like to steer the Disney Wonder in and out of various ports of call. The simulator is built into a replica of the ship's bridge, complete with giant video screens that provide a panoramic view of the ports -- similar to the view from the actual ship's bridge. "Crash" the ship and you get demoted and sent to dry dock.
Edge, Ages 11 – 13: This tween-only space is perfect for kids to hang out away from the little kids and the sneering teens. Located on Deck 2, it features video games, board games, Internet TVs and social activities meant to keep the kids entertained. Younger (aka “cool”) crew members supervise the kids, and we saw them playing board games and blending right in.
Vibe, Ages 14 - 17: This cool area for teens is a cross between a college dorm and a coffee shop with overstuffed couches and chairs. Located midship on Deck 11, Vibe includes big-screen plasma TVs, Internet access, MP3 players, board games and a soda bar that serves soft drinks and smoothies. In addition, there are some pretty hip crew members here leading events where teens can learn the latest hip-hop moves, sing karaoke, and participate in boys against girls trivia challenges, where we heard the boys frequently rule. They need some girls to change that!
For Alaska itineraries, Disney has created Base Camp, which is held whenever Wonder sails into Tracy Arm. While parents gawk at the amazing views, the kids programs move outside and on deck for games and crafts, all Alaskan themed.