Navigating our day last day at sea is easy — as always, we check our daily Navigator, placed in our stateroom last night. It contains a complete rundown of the day’s activities, from the movie schedule, to the show times for the evening’s live entertainment and the listing of special activities. One of the wackier, more popular events of the day? Jack Jack’s Diaper Dash, where babies crawl their way to the finish line. Aboard Disney there are activities for every age group— Disney Junior dance parties for the pre-school set, as well as teen and tween meet-ups and gatherings for single adults. My gang was most excited about the celebrities gathering in the Parrot Cay restaurant that morning.
Everyone on the cruise gets to enjoy one complimentary character breakfast during the week. Ours was today — what a perfect way to start off our last day!
Disney characters made appearances throughout the week, from Snow White stopping by the Oceaneer Club for story time to a pirated Mickey Mouse dancing on stage during the Pirate party. Character photo-ops were also plentiful, with the daily Navigator telling us exactly where and when we could meet up with Goofy, Donald and the rest of the gang each day. Yet the line to get that photo often made me do a double take. No lines at the character breakfast though. Pluto, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Chip and Dale — they were all serving up smiles as they stopped by each table for photos, much like a wedding reception.
After the character breakfast, I took a run on deck 4, the designated outdoor jogging track on the Disney Magic. I’m told three laps around the ship equals a mile … but who’s counting laps when you have such beautiful views of the ocean. The fitness center has jaw-dropping views as well with its floor-to-ceiling windows. I never had a chance, but every day there are a couple complimentary exercise classes to choose from.
Although the all-inclusive restaurants on the ship serve good food in an entertaining atmosphere, if you want to truly indulge your taste buds, head to Palo, the adults-only restaurant located on the upper deck. We decided to get a taste of their luxurious brunch. True, there is an additional $20 surcharge, but the sweeping panoramic views combine with truly extraordinary food for a meal you won’t soon forget.
My daughter and 6-year-old nephew seemed to always look forward to the kids club. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in the Peter Pan inspired Oceaneer Club, or doing fun science experiments at the Oceaneer Lab? The friendly counselors made my sister-in-law and I feel confident they were in good hands. Not surprisingly, we welcomed the hours of freedom that seemed so scarce in our everyday lives. Reading, talking and just laughing at the adults-only jacuzzi at the Cove was one of our favorite ways to pass the time.
It’s been a great week of family travel. Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and more importantly, time to bond with my nephew, laugh with my sister-in-law and dance with my daughter. Disney knows the secret to making it a magical vacation for both parents and kids.
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 for TravelingMom.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.