Disney Dream Family
Disney's acclaimed kids' clubs are what keep many loyal families coming back. It's not just the innovative, engaging spaces for kids and familiar characters that make them such a success -- the counselors are truly extraordinary. They offer far more than smiling faces to greet you at check-in; indeed, these men and women are experienced, attentive and downright fun, with a keen eye for spotting children who need encouragement, a friend to play with or a major timeout.
The Oceaneer's Club and Lab (ages 3 to 10) are connected on Dream (hooray!) so kids can roam back and forth, effectively doubling the space available to them at any given time. While they could visit both areas in the past, they had to request an escort.
Highlights in Oceaneer's Club include the adorable Andy's Room, which has oversized characters like the dinosaur and pig from "Toy Story" for little ones to climb on, and the Laugh Floor, where kids can measure their own volumes on the "laugh-o-meter" and hang out with Mike and Sully of "Monster, Inc." fame. The Lab has a maritime theme, a new animator's Studio and a mini Sound Studio. A notable addition to both the Club and Lab are the MagicPlay Floors, which are ridiculously popular. Picture a dance floor with a giant square in the center (20 by 20 feet). On it, kids play interactive games, controlling the outcome by where they step on the floor -- similar to the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, but minus the music. Disney's innovative approach of allowing kids of ages 3 to 10 to access the same clubs -- but with separate rooms and activities geared toward different age groups -- means that siblings can hang out together if they choose. Inspired!
Dream has a kids' club dedicated entirely to 'tweens, ages 11 to 13. True to its name, the Edge is located in the funnel on Deck 13, far removed from the other kids' clubs. What seemed like a decent idea in theory doesn't work here; we didn't like seeing preteens hanging out in the staircase, unsupervised. Inside, however, it delivers with an 18-foot-tall video wall, video karaoke and computers with access to an intranet-based (limited to the ship) social media app. The 9,000-square-foot teen club Vibe (ages 14 to 17) has modular furniture, a fountain bar and its own outdoor space (new for Disney) with a sun deck and wading pools.
And for the tiniest tots, there is the It's a Small World Nursery on Deck 5 midship, reserved for those from 3 months to 3 years. The price is $9 per hour for the first child, $8 for the second, open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Parents who want to check in on their children can peer through a one-way window into the nursery's play area.