Top Picks For Families Aboard Disney Magic

Ever wonder whether a Disney cruise would be smooth sailing for your family? I’m enjoying a fun-filled week aboard the Disney Magic with my 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old nephew. Here are my picks of the most kid-friendly activities on board.

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There are plenty of activities for all ages aboard the Disney Magic                            photo: Disney Cruise Line

Magic Activity #1 — Age Specific Kids Clubs
Do you have a too-cool teen who’d rather be anywhere than with his/her family? Let them hang out at Vibe, a lounge just for 14-17 year olds. How about a tween who’d like some space from a younger sibling? They should head straight to the Edge, a gaming lounge and hang-out space just for 11-14 year-olds.

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Oceaneer’s Lab aboard the Disney Magic photo: Andrea Guthmann

Younger kids will love the Oceaneer’s Club, where they can play dress-up and participate in games, or they can go to the Oceaneer’s Lab, where they have daily fun science experiments, cooking classes, arts and crafts and gaming stations.

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Flounder’s Reef Nursery aboard Disney Magic photo: Andrea Guthmann

Unlike most ships, there’s even a nursery for infants and toddlers. Travel aboard a Disney cruise means everyone in the family has time to enjoy their own activities, and then regroup for events the entire family can enjoy.

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Studio Sea aboard the Disney Magic. photo: Andrea Guthmann

Magic Activity #2 — Family Dance Parties
How many nightclubs welcome your toddler? On Disney cruises you can boogie down with your children at family dance parties in the disco, Studio Sea, complete with strobe lights… you provide the crazy dance moves.

Magic Activity #3 — Cruising with Character
Kids eyes will light up as they pass Donald Duck or Goofy walking down the hall. Girls will be charmed by the princesses who make regular appearances.

You’ll find out in the daily Navigator that’s delivered to your state room every night exactly where/when you can meet up with Minnie and the gang the next day. Unfortunately, there’s usually a long line to see the characters and get your picture taken. Not to worry, each family is invited to a character breakfast once on each cruise. No waiting for Mickey … he’ll come right up to your table and let you take a picture with him.

Besides the character meet-ups, there are a variety of other ways that Mickey and gang come to life aboard the Disney Magic.

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Even the bathroom amenities pay tribute to Mickey and the gang on the Disney Magic. photo: Andrea Guthmann

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Going up? The mouse is in the house aboard Disney Magic. photo: Andrea Guthmann

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“Villains Tonight” aboard the Disney Magic photo: Disney Cruise Line

Magic Activity #4 — Nightly Entertainment
Would anyone be surprised to hear that Disney puts on a good show? Classic Disney characters combine with witty stories, lavish costumes and sets every night. The end result is Broadway-caliber family entertainment. “Villains Tonight” was a great hour of musical theater, with the audience encouraged to boo and hiss (think Rocky Horror for a younger audience) as the bad boys and girls of Disney fairy tales got their moments in the spotlight.

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Time to show your best manners — teatime with Alice in Wonderland aboard the Disney Magic. photo: Andrea Guthmann

Magic Activity #5 — Tea with Alice
I’m late, I’m late for a very important date… afternoon tea with my daughter alongside the Mad Hatter and Alice. If you don’t want to be late for this adorable event, best sign up as soon as you board. I’m not speaking jabberwocky, you heard me right. The complimentary Tea with Alice was offered twice on our cruise, but you needed a ticket. Those tickets were gone before we even set sail. If you think your son or daughter would enjoy this, head straight to guest services as soon as you board, to get your tickets.

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Buena Vista Theater aboard the Diney Magic photo: Andrea Guthmann

Magic Activity #6 — First Run Movies
Another perk of sailing with the Disney brand … the ship’s theatre shows Disney movies that are currently in theaters. As expected, many are animated and rated G, but there was also a selection of PG and PG-13 movies.

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Each Disney cruise features a pirate night. photo: Disney Cruise Line

Magic Activity #7 — Pirate Night
Give me an Arrrr! Make sure and bring along your pirate gear to unleash your inner swashbuckler on pirate night. The entire crew will be in pirate gear and even Captain Jack Sparrow will make himself available for photo-ops. After a pirate-themed dinner, man the long cannons for the “Buccaneer’s Blast,” the cruise industry’s only fireworks display at sea. Are you ready to party like a pirate? Well, grab your crew and hit the main deck — it’s been transformed into Club Pirate, an open-air techno dance party.

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Magic Activity #8 — Mickey’s Slide and Splash Pad

There’s a kid-friendly pool area with a waterside and splash pad. This area can get pretty crowded in the middle of the day — try going early on or later in the day.

With a wide array of activities for all ages, a Disney cruise charts a course for a fun-filled family vacation. Kids and parents can enjoy time on their own, then meet up for events the whole family can enjoy.

We started off our cruise in Galveston, Texas. Join us tomorrow, as we explore a day in port in Grand Cayman.

Andrea Guthmann is a Midwest Emmy Award-winning broadcast, print and digital journalist. She spent many years as a TV producer for WTTW, the PBS station in Chicago. Her writing’s been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites. She’s also the Midwest blogger forTravelingMom.com.

A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from pre-school to high school. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago, but loves escaping from the Midwest winters!

Disclosure: Disney Magic is hosting the author and her guests for purposes of this review

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  • theavidcruiser

    Thanks for sharing Ben.

  • Ben Montgomery

    The Disney Magic is indeed an ideal cruise ship for families. I was fortunate enough to sail on a 7 night Mediterranean voyage from Barcelona in 2011. I would strongly recommend a Disney Cruise Line voyage to everyone. In addition, I think it is well deserved that the Disney Magic was voted as the “Best Large Cruise Ship” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Although I sailed on the Disney Dream a few months prior to deciding to sail on the Magic, the ship has a lot of charm and character, reminsicent of the great ocean liners.