Disney Magic for Families
Disney Magic was designed with families in mind, so it's no surprise that most of the programs onboard tend to appeal to all age groups. While there is no in-cabin baby-sitting on Disney ships, the areas designated for kids are probably the most extensive at sea, with activities for every age level and hours available so parents can have a night out.
One of the nicest and most unique things about Magic's kids program is the way the line groups the kids by age. While organized activities still cater to small age groups, all children, ages 3 to 12, have access to the same two clubs on Deck 5 (Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab) and can move freely between them. The redesign of the kids' areas was one of the most highly anticipated changes during the 2013 refurb, and it did not disappoint. The Oceaneer Club (open 9 a.m. to midnight), which used to resemble a pirate ship, has taken on a new look: a combination of four themed storybook worlds. Andy's Room brings the famous set from "Toy Story" to life, only kids are the ones who are toy-sized. The room includes a two-story structure resembling Andy's bed, a Slinky Dog slide and Mr. Potato Head. Marvel's Avengers Academy is a S.H.I.E.L.D. command post, where kids can interact with the Avengers (through a virtual game) while they train and prepare for special missions. The two remaining rooms are Mickey Mouse Club, where kids can partake in crafts and games, and Pixie Hollow, a fairytale space in which Tinkerbell's teapot home serves as a closet filled with dresses fit for a princess.
The Oceaneer Lab, also open from 9 a.m. until midnight, adopted a new version of the pirate theme once showcased in Oceaneer Club. Kids can enjoy activities like Disney movies in front of a 103-inch plasma screen, computer time in the Captain's Workshop, watching hand-drawn characters come to life in Animator's Studio and "Pirates of the Caribbean" games in Navigation Game Station.
Each family is given a pager, which can be used to receive a text message about children's whereabouts. Kids younger than 10 have to be signed in and out by a parent, but 8- and 9-year-olds can sign themselves in and out with written permission from a parent. Kids 8 to 12 can sign themselves in and out at their parents' discretion, and parents can be notified by text message only if requested.
Tweens (11 to 14) have their own small hangout space called The Edge (Deck 2), which has computers, arts and crafts, video games and a replica of the ship's bridge, where they can simulate navigating. Additionally, kids in the 10 to 12 age range have access to both the Oceaneer Club and Lab. Teens (14 to 17) also have their own special area, Vibe, which is housed in the nonfunctioning funnel on Deck 11, midship. Similarly, teens ages 13 and 14 have access to both Edge and Vibe. Vibe has a lounge feel, with oversized couches, flat-screen TVs and video games. Although it's supervised by Disney personnel, no parents are allowed. Nonalcoholic drinks and coffee are served; there is a variety of activities, from dance parties to karaoke. Parental permission is required for 10-year-olds to visit Edge and 13-year-olds to visit Vibe.
The programs for children from age 3 are provided at no additional charge. Kids get their own version of the Personal Navigator and can join their groups at any time during the day, including dinner with fellow kids-clubbers, while parents dine alone.
It's a Small World Nursery (Deck 5) takes babies as young as 3 months and children up to 3 years of age. Typical open hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The nursery is stocked with baby swings, walkers, books, toys, games and a TV, as well as a quiet area with cribs.
There is a per-hour charge of $9 ($8 for the second child in a family) for this service, but it allows parents time to be on their own for dinner in Palo or a trip to the spa, for example. You can reserve a limited number of hours of nursery time for your child online up to three days prior to sailing: 10 hours for cruises of seven nights or less, 18 hours for seven-night cruises, 28 hours for 10- to 12-night cruises and 35 hours for cruises of 14 nights or longer. You can also sign your child up in person onboard.
Disney has an online service that allows passengers to order baby supplies in advance of their cruise and have them delivered to their cabins (provided by Babies Travel Lite). There are more than 1,000 brand-name baby products to choose from, including diapers, baby food, infant formula and specialty travel items. The dining room can also provide mashed or pureed food for babies upon request.
All services are available on Castaway Cay.