Disney Magic Family
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 that you can have a night out.
One of the nicest (and most unique) things about Magic's children's programs is the way they group the kids by age. While organized activities still cater to small age groups (3 to 7), all children, ages 3 to 10, have access to the same two clubs (Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab) and can move freely between them. Activities in Oceaneer Club are designed for (but not limited to) smaller children, ages 3 to 7, with hundreds of hands-on activities and art projects in a gigantic space that resembles a pirate ship. Computers and TV monitors are cloaked in plastic replicas of treasure chests. Activities in the Oceaneer Lab are geared (but again, not limited) to kids 8 to 12 and provide for computer time, cooking classes, games, gab-fests, pool parties and contests.
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 10 to 12 can sign themselves in and out; parents can be notified by text messaging only if requested.
Tweens (11 to 13) have their own small hangout space called The Edge, which has computers, arts and crafts, video games and a replica of the ship's bridge, where they can simulate navigating. Teens (14 to 17) also have their own special area, Vibe, which is housed in the nonfunctioning funnel, midship. It has a lounge feel, with oversized couches, flat-screen TV's and video games. Although it is supervised by Disney personnel, no parents are allowed. Nonalcoholic drinks and coffee are served; there are a variety of activities, from dance parties to karaoke.
Kids get their own version of the Personal Navigator and can join their groups at any time during the day, including dinner with fellow kid-clubbers, while parents dine alone.
The programs for children from age 3 are provided at no additional charge.
Flounder's Reef, the nursery onboard, 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 $6 ($5 for the second child) 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 staterooms (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.