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16 Reasons why a Disney cruise is worth the money

16 Reasons why a Disney cruise is worth the money via christineknight.me

I’m going to be upfront and say Disney cruises are REALLY expensive. Crazy expensive – much more so than a lot of other cruise liners, in fact, that offer similar itineraries. So why choose to spend your time and your money that way? Simply because the experience is unparalleled. We just got back from the 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy, and can happily say that here are 16 reasons why, for us, a Disney cruise is worth the money.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

1. It’s (almost!) all-inclusive
All your food at the main restaurants and snack joints, entertainment, use of facilities and even room services are included in the price. What’s an extra charge? The spa services, popcorn before the shows, snacks from additional cafes not in the main dining areas and alcohol, and gratuity at the end of the trip (it’s charged to the room at a rate of $12 per person per day).

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

2. The service is impecable
We received some of the best service of our lives on the ship, especially from the servers in the dining rooms. Our head waiter, assistance and dining room head all knew our name and our dining preferences (for example, I’m a fussy vegetarian and my daughter is fussy period), and would be prepared to offer us with alternatives to the menu each evening if they knew we wouldn’t like them. Our amazing servers followed us each night through the dining rotation (there are three restaurants that we rotated between) so we were always greeted with their smiling faces each evening.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

3. Mickey is everywhere
It’s fun to make a game of finding all the hidden Mickeys. From tiny nautical Mickeys made out of ropes in the shower curtains to bigger emblems on the ships decks, there are Mickeys everywhere you look in both discrete and obvious ways, but still pulled together so harmoniously as to present an elegant ship for adults rather than a carnival for children. A masterful design.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

4. Disney magic is all around
Disney is renowned for making the ordinary magical, and they don’t disappoint on a cruise, either. Little touches like magical pictures that guests can interact with, or a steering wheel set up in front of what looks to be an ordinary painting but turns out to be a pirate ship that you can steer in search of treasure really give the illusion of a bit of pixie dust sprinkled liberally over every element of the ship.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

5. See the world with zero effort
One of the big bonuses to taking a cruise is that you get to wake up at exotic destinations without lifting a finger. Everything is so incredibly easy and manageable, which is what we wanted with a young child. On our cruise, we visited Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and Disney’s own island, Castaway Cay. We were offered off-ship excursions at additional costs, or you can also just walk straight off the ship and find your own way around.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

6. Incredible entertainment every day and night
Dazzling shows is what Disney does best, and again they bring this to the cruise. Every night there is a new show to see, the highlight on ours being Aladdin. The performers and staging in these shows is just incredible – it’s a standard of quality that you would happily pay to see under ordinary circumstances.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

If you feel like seeing a movie on the cruise, you can head into one of the two movie theatres playing brand new or recent releases (on our ship we had Finding Dory the same day it was released globally in cinemas, Jungle Book and the new Captain America movie), or lie in luxury on the pool deck and watch the “Funnel Vision” movie screen playing Disney classics above the pool on the top deck during the day and night.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

7. Water play all day
The top desk is all about getting wet! Our number one fave water play activity was the AquaDuck slide, an exhilarating “water coaster” that sends guests clinging to rafts speeding around the ship enclosed in a tube. Kids can also enjoy a more sedate Mickey slide, the Nemo Reef splash area for littlies, the shallow Mickey Pool and AquaLabs for older kids. Adults can sit back and relax in adult-only pools, too.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

8. Everything is super high quality
This is Disney, after all, where nothing but the best is good enough. Every detail about the ship is flawless, and I’d challenge anyone to find a paint chip or a carpet stain on the entire boat. The rooms, the food, the facilities, absolutely everything is top notch, shiny and brand-new looking.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

9. The kids won’t want to leave kids’ club
There are plenty of options for kids to be entertained while adults take some time out to relax. As well as a nursery for babies, there’s the “Oceaneer Lab” and “Oceaneer Club” for kids 3-12, “Edge” for tweens 11-14 and “Vibe” for teenagers 14-17. Cheese was a great age for the Oceaneer Lab/Club and loved going so much she would request to be dropped off when we asked what she’d like to do. In the Oceaneer Lab/Club, as well as various open play areas, kids are also entertained with games and visiting characters such as Lilo and Stich or Tinkerbell.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

10. Activities are endless
Let me put it this way, no one will be bored. Every evening, an activity sheet is released for the next day which is jam packed with options for the whole family. Adults can choose from plenty of 18+ options such as bingo, animation and fitness classes, but the majority of activities are family-focussed, such as character appearances, trivia competitions and even baby racing. Yes, you read that right.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

11. The food is top notch
Dining aboard a boat was a major concern of mine, which thankfully we didn’t need to worry about at all. There were both plenty of options, as well as lots of fresh, healthy food to choose from. Each morning and lunch we dined at Cabanas, the buffet restaurant on the top deck, blown away with the choice of food such as fruit, made-to-order omelettes, yogurts, cereals, toasts, bagels, Mickey waffles and more for breakfast, followed by salads, more fruit, and hot food options such as vegetables, pasta dishes, pizza and so forth for lunch.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

Dinner each night was served in a rotating restaurant – Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden and Royal Court, where we were presented with a three course menu to select what we would like. While there were always vegetarian options made available, if I didn’t particularly fancy that night’s menu, the kitchen staff were more than happy to either send me a dish from another restaurant, or whip me up something specially in the back.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

If we missed our dining rotation or the Cabanas buffet times, there were snack options available on the pool deck most of the day, including burgers, sandwiches, pizza and fruit, plus the 24-hour room service. It was hard exercising off all the food we ate!

12. Free-on demand tv
On a Disney boat, you’d expect a lot of Disney TV, wouldn’t you? In the rooms, Disney TV shows and movies are streamed 24-hours on demand, with a huge variety to appeal to both the kiddies during the day, and adults once the kidlets have gone to bed at night.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

13. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Wittout a doubt my daughter’s favoruite thing abut the ship was her transformation into a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. You can read about our experience here.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me
14. Plenty of 18+ only areas

While we loved spending time with our daughter on the Fantasy, we occasionally needed some adult time, so when she was keen to head off to the kids’ clubs we would also happily wander up to the 18+ areas for a drink or just a coffee and would sit happily watching the ocean roll past and chat or read a book without having to listen to other peoples’ children screaming. Bliss!

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me
15. Everything is seamlessly run

The ship is run with what can only be called Disney efficiency. Everything happens exactly when it is supposed to happen, to the very second, and there are no hiccups, no mishaps, no wrinkles in the perfect Disney holiday experience. A Disney cruise is a slickly run machine.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me
16. Countless character interactions

The numerous character interactions were a big plus for our family and our daughter who is at the age where she likes to throw herself with gay abandon at all Disney characters like they’re a long-lost loved one. Luckily the characters are ready for four-year-old missiles and handle all the poking and whacking with swords with good humour.

Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

I did wonder if, after the first day or so, she’d get bored with seeing the same characters over and over again, but, the geniuses, have outfitted the characters in numerous costumes, so each time we saw them they always looked a bit different (except for Peter Pan, who always looked exactly like Peter Pan in his tights and little green hat). On formal night, for example, the characters appeared in tuxes and sparkling gowns, and needless to say, pirate night was full of eye patches and bandanas.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.meEvery day the times and locations for where the character meet and greets will occur is printed in the “navigator” that is distributed to the rooms each evening with the following day’s activities so you always know where to find your favourite giant plush or princess. Characters often just roam the ship too, so you never know who might start crowing over the balcony (yes, the crowd favourite, Peter Pan, yet again).

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

The most popular characters have free ticketed events that you can sign up for online before boarding the ship, such as the princess Royal Court, Anna and Elsa from Frozen and the Disney Junior character breakfast.

Disney Cruise Planning: Tips & Tricks via christineknight.me

Compared to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, the characters on the boat spend a lot of time with each guest interacting with them personally, rather than it just being a quick photo op. This does make the wait a bit longer, but the characters and also Disney cast members who are managing the crowds, make the kids each feel so incredibly special that it’s worth it.

Ready to book a Disney cruise? Don’t book before you read my tips and tricks here!

Have you been on a Disney Cruise? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Hotel Review: Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

Choosing a hotel when visiting Disneyland is a big decision. To make the most out of an expensive visit to the theme park, I like to stay as close to the park entrance as possible.

My ideal location is somewhere I can wake up as late as possible, get the kid out of bed at the last minute and walk 500 metres or less across the road to the entrance to Disneyland, arriving well before the gates actually open.

The best time to visit Disneyland is first thing in the morning, as soon as the gates open and before the crowds descend, so it makes sense that the best place to stay is as close to the parks as possible and minimise your time travelling to and from the parks.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

We decided to stay at the The Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground on this trip. The hotel is extremely close to Disneyland – it’s actually closer to the park than two of Disney’s own hotels. On the Howard Johnson website it states that the hotel is an eight-minute walk away – I’m a fast walker though and I’m pretty sure I did it in five minutes or under. Fantastic location at a fraction of the cost of staying at a Disney resort.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

The Howard Johnson is renowned for their water playground. It’s a huge, pirate-themed water area that includes a 30-foot pirate ship with slides, water cannons, fountains and toddler wading pool, plus a 15-person hot tub and a garden pool.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

Having such amazing pool facilities is great for visiting the parks for an extended period. It’s a good idea to leave the parks around midday when it gets busy and hot, return to the hotel for a rest and a swim, then return to the parks before the parades and fireworks – I find that this strategy really makes the stay that much more of a holiday than just a theme park visit.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

The rooms at the Howard Johnson are another reason to stay at the hotel. They are huge! Bigger than any other hotel we have ever stayed at now I think about it. We had two bedrooms with a king bed in one and bunk beds plus a fold out sofa in the other, plus two bathrooms. Yes, you could actually fit a family of five grown people in this single hotel room.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

There was room for our mountains of luggage we collected along the way, which we had tripped over in every other hotel room. The added space just made us feel that much more relaxed as we had some real space finally to spread out.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

The Howard Johnson also features free WiFi, free parking and a free laptop-sized safe. We had a microwave, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities in the room, plus the Main Street Market downstairs next to the hotel lobby where we picked up a basic breakfast every morning as we walked to Disneyland.

Howard Johnson Anaheim hotel review via christineknight.me

One of the problems we always face with visiting Anaheim is finding decent places to eat dinner – there is a lot of fast food, but that’s about it. We were so happy to discover a really nice restaurant a few steps from the hotel, Mimi’s Café Anaheim Restaurant and Bar, that offered affordable breakfast, lunch and dinner, including a decent kids’ menu.

Mimi's Cafe Anaheim via christineknight.me Mimi's Cafe Anaheim via christineknight.me Mimi's Cafe Anaheim via christineknight.me

We highly enjoyed our stay at the Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Playground in Anaheim and will absolutely stay here again when we visit Disneyland.

Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground
1380 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

One of the most unexpectedly fun activities we tried at Disneyland this year was the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show. It’s a really clever idea. Kids aged 4-12 can sign up for “Jedi training”. They then take part in a little show that runs 6 times a day, dressed up as Jedis with lightsabers, getting to live out their Star Wars fantasy to battle the forces of evil.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

The show runs six times during the day – when we visited the times were 10:30am, 11:35am, 12:40pm, 2:25pm, 3:30pm and 4:35pm. When registering for the show you can choose the time you want. The staff will ask your child a few questions to make sure they know what they’re in for, and won’t freeze up or freak out on stage.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

After registering we went on our merry way and returned at the time specified – around 30 minutes before show time. The kids had their names marked off and were taken into a group and given their special jedi robes. There were a lot of spots available from kids who didn’t arrive in time for the show, so at least 10 kids off the wait list were accepted into the group.

Once the group was complete, the kids were whisked off for some jedi training while the adults were guided to the nearby Galactic Grill stage, where the show would shortly commence.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

The stage is quite wide and there are a lot of kids in each group, so it’s hard to know where the best spot is to place yourself to see your own child. I chose the front middle and lucky for me, Cheese was placed directly in front of me for the show.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

The show kicks off with the younglings entering in a group, and tells the story of a woman who wants to be a jedi – it’s really a story of her jedi journey with the kids as the supporting cast. She guides the kids through basic jedi training moves, just in time for the entrance of the villains – Darth Vader and a new enemy. The kids face off against the villains one-on-one on stage – surprisingly none of the kids freaked out either at the masked villains or the attention, so I’m guessing they were prepared for what was going to happen backstage.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

The show is 26 minutes long, a perfect length both for the kids involved and the audience watching. It was a lot of fun for families to participate and also to watch. For those involved, it was the highlight of their day.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

Need to know:
Participants must be between 4 and 12 years of age.
All participants must be present at the time of registration.
Register at the kiosk located outside the exit to Star Wars Launch Bay.
Registration begins when Disneyland Park opens for the day–including Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning.
Availability is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Disneyland, California via christineknight.me

More info on Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Disneyland
After spending a gorgeous time having a princess transformation at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) on board the Disney Fantasy, my daughter asked if she could also try the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland. I thought it would be a good chance to try and compare both experiences, so agreed and booked her in.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

What is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience, you might ask?

Firstly, it’s called the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Not Biddidy Bobbidy Boutique, Bippiti Boppiti Boutique or Bippity Boppity Boutique Disneyland. It’s tricky! Let’s call it the BBB for short. The BBB is an experience at Disneyland where little girls and boys can receive a princess or prince makeover.

The BBB in Disneyland is located inside Cinderella’s castle in Fantasyland. It has a really cute shopfront that you can enter and just shop for princess dresses and accessories if you like. The boutique is at the back of the shop and is an absolute hive of activity. I had read that the boutique was popular, but was not prepared for how popular!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

When we arrived for our appointment there was a mix up with our time slot – we had been booked in for a 1:30pm session, but when we arrived were told it was actually 1:50pm, which wasn’t a big deal, we were happy to look around the shop while we waited.

The fairy godmothers were obviously running behind when we visited as we didn’t get into the boutique to being the princess transformation until well after 2pm, closer to 2:30pm.

disneyland-BBB-1

This time we chose the “Castle Package” that included the works – dress, accessories, make-up, hairstyle and also a photo package taken in a little room with Cinderella’s carriage and express entry into the Royal Hall to meet the princesses. The photos and express entry into the Royal Hall are only available with this package, which is why we chose it over using an old dress and just getting the make up. Full details on packages and prices at the end of the post.

Cheese chose Tiana this time, with the adorable wand and crown included in the package. She badly wanted the gloves too (“Because Tiana in the movie wears gloves!”) and I caved and gave into the gloves as well.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

After choosing her dress, Cheese was led to a changing room that magically had her new outfit and accessories ready for her to change into.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

Next it was into the chair and the transformation begun. We had two fairy godmothers working on Cheese at one stage, I assume because they were so far behind in their appointments.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

While our fairy godmother was very sweet and did a great job, I did feel that the transformation was rushed in comparison to the one on the Disney Fantasy. Again I think this was due to the staff being really behind in their appointment schedule.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

After the transformation was complete, we waited to have portraits taken in front of and inside the Cinderella carriage. This option is only available with the Castle Package. Photos in the package are prints only – the digital negatives need to be bought separately.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me
With the photo shoot finished, we waited outside to receive the prints, and for our fairy godmother to escort us into the Royal Hall.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

The BBB was a lot busier and chaotic than I was expecting after the peaceful atmosphere on the cruise. I am assuming it’s because the BBB in Disneyland has to cater to a lot more “princesses” at a time. The staff were all extremely sweet and kind, but we did feel like we spent a lot of time waiting, and then had the transformation rushed through.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

We had some issues with the hairstyle too, unfortunately. The first time Cheese had the princess bun hair style aboard the Disney Fantasy she kept it in for the next three days until it was starting to go a bit gross and we had to bribe her to take it out – this time, it was tied up too tightly and gave her a headache, so sadly we had to take it out a few hours later (I also thought it was a bit wonky, but I’m such a picky perfectionist!).

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

After the transformation, we were escorted into the Royal Hall to meet the princesses. I think this was my daughter’s favourite part of the experience. There is always a long wait for the hall, so it was really nice to be escorted to a special entrance and skip the queue. The Disney staff all gave her a special reception as she arrived, bowing to the “newly crowned princess” and really giving her the royal treatment.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

Inside the Royal Hall, three princesses were waiting to meet us. It can be any three at the one time, and we met Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disneyland California via christineknight.me

The princesses were all sweet and friendly, especially Cinderella.

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is definitely a special experience for little girls. My daughter had a wonderful time and felt so special, that it was definitely worth the money for us. Would we get it again? Probably not the full package now we’ve done it once, but definitely the hair and make-up.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Princess Transformation Packages

The Crown Package
Starting at $59.95 (plus tax), this package features hairstyling, makeup, princess accessories and nail polish.
Included Details
Hairstyle
Shimmering makeup
Princess sash and cinch bag
Face gem
Nail polish
Hair Style Choices
Girls have the choice of one of 3 hairstyles:

Fairytale Princess
Disney Diva
Color Star

The Courtyard Package

Starting at $99.95 (plus tax), this package features hairstyling, makeup, princess accessories and more.
Included Details
Hairstyle
Shimmering makeup
Princess sash and cinch bag
Face gem
Nail polish
Trendy tutu
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique t-shirt
Hair Style Choices
Girls have the choice of one of 3 hairstyles:

Fairytale Princess
Disney Diva
Color Star

The Castle Package
For $199.95 (plus tax), this package features choice of hair style, makeup, princess gown, accessories and more.
Included Details
Hairstyle
Shimmering makeup
Princess sash and cinch bag
Face gem
Nail polish
Princess gown of choice
Wand
Crown
The Castle Package also comes complete with a portrait package, courtesy of Disney PhotoPass Service—which includes a photo taken near Cinderella’s carriage and assorted prints presented in a themed folder.

Hair Style Choices
Girls have the choice of one of 3 hairstyles:

Fairytale Princess
Disney Diva
Color Star
Fantasy Faire
The imperial experience continues as newly transformed Castle Package princesses star in a personally escorted mini processional from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to the ever-enchanting Fantasy Faire.

Upon arrival, newly crowned VIPs will receive priority entry to the Royal Hall, where some of the most beautiful and beloved Disney Princesses—from timeless tales like The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty—eagerly await! Have those autograph books and cameras ready!

The Disney Frozen Package
Starting at $164.95 (plus tax), this package features an Anna or Elsa hairstyle—complete with a braided hairpiece. You’ll even receive sparkling snowflake hair accessories!
Included Details
Anna or Elsa hairstyle with braided hairpiece
Sparkling snowflake hair accessories
Anna or Elsa costume
Shimmering makeup
Face gem
Princess sash and cinch bag
Nail Polish
12-inch Olaf plush
Please note that this package is only available with Anna or Elsa hairstyling.

The Disney Frozen Crown Package
Starting at $114.95 (plus tax), this package is perfect for Guests who already own an Anna or Elsa dress.
Included Details
Anna or Elsa hairstyle with braided hairpiece
Sparkling snowflake hair accessories
Shimmering makeup
Face gem
Princess sash and cinch bag
Nail Polish
12-inch Olaf plush

The Knight Package
Starting at $19.95 (plus tax), this package includes hairstyling, along with a sword and shield. Please note that all prices are subject to change without notice.

How to Book a Reservation

Reservations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique can be made up to 60 days in advance and are highly recommended. To book your appointment with a Fairy Godmother-in-training, please call (714) 781-STYLE or (714) 781-7895.

Guests must be between 3 and 12 years of age in order to participate and must be accompanied by an adult (18 years of age or older).

Transformations take 30 minutes to an hour. Note: we were there for well over an hour with lots of waiting around in between everything.

More info about princess transformations at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Disneyland.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

A visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) is a must for little girls who are desperate to be a “princess” for a day. There are BBBs in Disneyland, Walt Disney World and also select Disney cruises. Our boat, the Fantasy, had the BBB located on deck five – a quiet space filled with tulle, glitter and tiny little girls with their faces alight with joy.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

The BBB is a gorgeous experience for girls aged 3-12. Reservations are required to guarantee a spot at the boutique. When you book your spot, you can choose the type of package you would like for your daughter. Packages start from the “Crown Package” at $64.95 for hair, face decals, nail polish, shimmery make up, tiara, Mickey Mouse hair clip, BBB sash and a drawstring bag. See end of post for full details of pricing and packages.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

Cheese already had a beautiful dress she loved so we took her dress and chose the Crown Package. Our fairy godmother in training let Cheese over to a chair and proceeded to do her hair in her select style of a princess bun (there are several other options available).

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

Once the hair was up in the perfect princess bun, light make up was applied, tiara and hair clip slipped in, kiddie nail polish liberally brushed on, and, after many layers of hair gel to keep the wispy bits looking sleek, a hearty coating of “pixie dust” (AKA glitter) was applied, followed by a proclamation of “Bibbity, Bobbity Boo!” and a dramatic reveal in the mirror.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

Each guest takes home the drawstring bag plus the make up, nail polish and face decals. I really liked how clean and hygienic the boutique was, with each make up, nail polish and face decal set being brand new and sealed for each guest.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

When I saw the prices for the experiences I wasn’t sure how a 45 minutes “make over” could be worth the money. It comes down to the beautiful fairy godmothers in training, who guide the girls through the experience, tell them stories, get to know them, and make them laugh and feel special. My daughter was in heaven, not just with the make over, which she adored, but also the attention she received from the wonderful staff in the boutique.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

The bun stayed in for the next two days until we went swimming and it needed to come out. It was a devastating moment when we had to take the hair down, which surprised me as she isn’t usually attached to hair dos.

Bibbity Bobbity Boutique Aboard The Disney Fantasy via christineknight.me

The BBB was a highlight of our cruise, and I will absolutely take her to enjoy the experience again at with Disneyland or WDW and hope that we enjoy the same wonderful time together.

FULL PACKAGE LIST
All prices in USD.

Crown Package
Price $64.95
This regal package includes hairstyling, a face gem, shimmering makeup, nail polish, a princess sash and cinch sack.
Hairstyle Choices: Disney Diva or Fairy-Tale Princess

Under the Sea Package
Price: $99.95
Plucky young adventurers can become little mermaids with the Under the Sea Package, which includes a 2-piece swimsuit and “mermaid tail” wrap. A floral hair clip, necklace and nail polish complete the look.

Please note this swimsuit is currently only available in 2 sizes: large/10-12 and extra-large/14.

Castle Package
Price: $199.95
Your little princess will be a vision to behold with hairstyling, shimmering makeup, nail polish, a face gem, princess sash and cinch sack. She’ll also receive a crown, a wand and her choice of costume!
Hairstyle Choices: Disney Diva or Fairy-Tale Princess
Costume Choices: Princess Minnie, Tinker Bell, Anna, Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Elsa, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Snow White and Tiana

Royal Knight Package
Price: $19.95
Young Guests who select the Royal Knight Package will be bestowed with heroic hairstyling of gel and confetti as well as a mighty sword and shield!

Disney Frozen Package
Price: $194.95
Is your little one free-spirited and fun-loving like Anna or regal and reserved like Elsa? The Disney Frozen Package provides a fun, movie-inspired makeover where kids can become their favorite character from the wildly popular Disney animated hit. The Disney Frozen package includes your choice of the Anna hairstyling with Anna costume or Elsa hairstyling with Elsa costume, plus shimmering makeup, face gem, nail polish, a princess sash, a princess tote and a huggable Olaf plush.

Celebration Package
Price: $124.95
Every day is worth celebrating on the Disney Magic and young guests can get in the fun with the Disney Cruise Line exclusive Celebration Package a perfect choice for a Sail-Away Celebration! The Celebration Package includes the choice of a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique hair style, plus shimmering makeup, face gem, nail polish, princess tote and princess sash. The party transformation is then completed with an exclusive Disney Cruise Line Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique tutu and t-shirt.

Captain’s Package
Price: $119.95
The Disney Cruise Line exclusive package includes the Disney Cruise Line Sailor Mickey costume, Captain Mickey hat and Captain Mickey plush.

9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland

9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland via christineknight.me

I often see people asking in forums about the right age to take their kids to Disneyland. I honestly don’t think there is a “right” age. There are easier ages than some, but never a “right” age. Disneyland is one of those amazing places that has something for everyone from babies to oldies (as long as they’re the type that love Disney, that is!).

I’ve been to Disneyland with my toddler, and next year will go back to Disneyland with my preschooler, so I’m right in this age bracket right now. If you’re weighing up whether or not to take a Disney trip, here is my 2 cents worth on why taking your toddler or preschooler to Disneyland is the best idea ever.

9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland via christineknight.me

  1. It’s magical!
    Anyone who says otherwise is a grinch. With young kids, Disneyland is all about the magic. Their favourite characters come to life, music playing seemingly out of nowhere, castles and fireworks. See? Magical!9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland via christineknight.me
  2. Princesses abound
    Princess-haters, I don’t want to hear about it. Little girls outgrow their love of princesses very fast, so there is a small window of time that they are desperate to meet Aurora and Cinderella and co, and when they do, it’s the sweetest moment ever.
  3. You share every moment together
    Little kids are still at the age where they want to do everything with you, such as sit on your lap when you’re watching the parade, or hold your hand when you’re walking down Main Street. You really experience Disneyland together when your kids want to do everything with you.9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland via christineknight.me
  4. The kiddie rides are more fun than you’d expect
    Some of the best rides are for littlies, and you can happily ride the tea cups till you feel ill when you have a little one with you. I love riding the carousel or Dumbo the Flying Elephant with my daughter perched on my lap – I’ll be sad next time we go and she’ll want to ride them solo.
  5. Relieving your own childhood
    If you went to Disneyland as a child, or a similar amusement park, this will bring back memories of a carefree time of childhood before you were worried about if something was too daggy or uncool to be seen doing.
  6. It’s the childhood you never had
    If your childhood was spent yearning for Disneyland like mine was, it’s a chance to experience the Disney magic at all ages, starting from the very beginning.9 Reasons To Take Little Kids To Disneyland via christineknight.me
  7. They still want to be in photos with you
    As my child gets older, the less she wants to be in photos I take, particularly with us. It’s so great going somewhere as photogenic as Disneyland with a kid who is either happy to smile or doesn’t notice the camera yet so you can capture their joy.
  8. Nap time = parent time
    When I went with my two-year-old, she fell asleep in the stroller at nap time and we wheeled her around Disneyland looking at things we were interested in that she was too young for, and also had a long lunch while she napped next to the table. Winning!
  9. They rock a pair of Mickey ears like a boss
    One of the best things about tiny kids is that you can dress them in anything and they don’t care. Pick out the crazy cutest disney-inspired outfit and matching headband and there’s your family Christmas card, done!

If you’re weighing up if your kids are too young for Disneyland or not, my advice is to just go!

Have you taken your kids to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? If so, how old were they?

How To Survive (And Enjoy) Disneyland USA With A Toddler

disneyland-5

Planning a trip to kiddy heaven, otherwise known as Disneyland?

Read all about one of our editor’s trip to Disneyland in California, with a 2.5 year old active toddler in tow! You’ll find helpful information, as well as useful tips and hints on how to escape with your sanity intact.

Have fun!

How To Survive (And Enjoy) Disneyland With A Toddler

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

We recently did the unthinkable — Disneyland with our 2.5 year old. And you know what? It was awesome. Hectic, crazy and overwhelming, but also totally magical. We had the benefit of the amazing Gina of In The Mouse House to book and organise the trip for us, and help us enjoy an easy and fun family vacation. We had so much fun that I wanted to share my top tips (a lot of these are thanks to Gina!) for getting the most out of Disneyland with a toddler.

1. Book a hotel near Disneyland. It does NOT have to be a Disney hotel. They are a lot pricier, and there are so many other budget but good quality hotels literally right across the road from the hotel entrance. We stayed at the Carousel Inn and Suites for a fraction of the cost and could not have been happier with our decision. Note: We did not use the pool, only because we didn’t have time in our schedule. If you’re traveling with older kids, choose a hotel like the Howard Johnson, which is a budget hotel with an amazing pirate ship playground in their pool.

2. Have a Disney vacation planner like Gina book the trip for you. Gina, as an authorised Disneyland travel agent, booked our hotel, park tickets, character dining (and could have booked more, like flights, if we’d needed it) at no cost to us. She also wrote us a day-by-day itinerary of how to best manage Disneyland with a toddler. For people who haven’t been before and have no knowledge of which rides are suitable and popular for different ages, this is an absolute must to take the stress out of each day.

3. Plan your time of year wisely. We went just before peak season, and every day the parks were absolutely jam packed with people by midday. Do not, unless you are totally insane, go during high season. Disneyland has a page on their site with details on the best times of year to go.

4. Plan each day. Our itinerary took the work out of it for me, and meant that we already knew which rides were suitable for our toddler, and in which order we should hit them up before the crows got too bad. E’s favorites were Cars Land in California Adventure Park (particularly the life-sized and moving Lightening McQueen and Mater) and Fantasyland in Disneyland. Her absolute favorite rides were the spinning tea cups and flying Dumbo. She wasn’t a fan of any ride that went through tunnels as she thought they were scary. High and fast spinning things, no problem.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

5. Alternate lining up and riding with your partner. As the day went on and the crowds grew, there were huge lines for every ride. If your toddler is like mine, you’ll want to have one person lining up for the next ride while the other person is taking the child on the previous ride.

6. Arrive super early. You’ll enjoy the park the most even though it might be hard to fathom getting up that early for a theme park. How early? If you buy a three-day park pass, you get one “magic morning” included, where you get to enter the park an hour before the rest of the general public. The days we went, opening time was 8am, and magic hour was 7am. Before entering the park you need to go through security and line up in front of the turn styles, so arrive even earlier – at least 15 minutes if not half an hour earlier, especially for your magic morning hour. Seeing the park with almost no-one in it is eerie and peaceful at the same time. And yes, the only time in your parenting life you will refer to 7am as the “magical hour”.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

7. Want to meet Anna and Elsa? They’re the current hot ticket, and we used our magic morning hour to arrive at the park at 6:30am and line up at the turn styles so that at 7am when the gates opened, were were able to walk (ok, run) to their “house” in Fantasyland and be first in line to meet them. Anna and Elsa were thankfully punctual and greeted guests from 7:05am, which meant that by 7:10am, we had met them and were on to the rides, while the queue behind us was already massive. Without a strategy like this, you will wait around two hours to meet Anna and Elsa.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

8. Book character dining if your kid absolutely HAS to meet certain characters. We had dinner at Ariel’s Grotto and met all of the Disney princesses. We also breakfasted with Minnie and friends. It was such a wonderful experience for little E to meet her favourite characters in a setting like this — no lining up, just casual chatting and playing with the characters. It’s worth noting here that the character interactions were beyond my expectations. You expect the staff to be good with kids, but they were not just good, they were exceptional. E froze up each time she saw one of her favorites come to life, and every single character took the time to chat with her and draw her out of her shell by asking her cute questions about her outfit, or a toy she was holding. It was the best three days of her life thus far.

9. Eat early or late. The best times to eat at a Disney restaurant are before 11am or after 2pm. During the middle of the day they get quite busy. The food at all the restaurants is pretty average, so I would also suggest bringing your own food if possible.

10. Take a break during the day. After your early morning, get your hand stamped and leave for a break or nap during the middle of the day.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

11. Make time for the parade. It’s magical for kids to see (Gina advised us that near the It’s A Small World ride was a great vantage point for the parade, and she was totally right!). Disney has just added a Frozen float to the parade, so if you didn’t get a chance to meet Anna and Elsa (or didn’t fancy the line/early morning) you can still see them in the parade.

12.  Use the “ride swap” for any rides you want to do that your kid is too small for. This means getting a fast pass when you get to the park (which tells you what time to return so you don’t have to line up), then, after you return during your time slot, one of you collects a ride swap from the attendants at the front of the queue and has the ride, while the other watches the child (our favorite was the Indiana Jones ride). Afterwards, the person who rides gives the ride swap pass to the other adult, who can then jump the queue. Yippee! Note: We tried to do to do this for the Star Tours ride, but when Alec got to the front and asked for the pass, they’d run out, so this is not a fool-proof plan.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

13. Plan to spend one day at California Adventure Park and at least one at Disneyland. We didn’t do the park hopper tickets as we thought E was too little (and we were right! One park was enough per day for her.), but we did allow for two days in Disneyland so we could watch all the shows, take breaks, meet the characters, and not feel rushed. This was a great plan as we felt like we were able to see everything without rushing around like crazy.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

14. Watch the shows! The calibre of the Disney performers is so high. Even the short musical performances are performed by extremely talented staff. Our particular favorites were the Aladdin mini show and the new Mickey and the Magical map show which featured several of the Disney princesses.

Tips For Surviving #Disneyland with a Toddler via brunchwithmybaby.com

14. Get a PhotoPass when you enter a park. There are photographers all over the park who will take your photo with characters or in front of scenic points like the castle. Each time you’re getting a photo taken by one of the Disney photographers, if you give them your pass, all of your photos will be collected in the one place to buy at the end of your trip. They’re expensive, but if you use them a lot it’s worth the money to get your whole family in every picture.

15. Bring or hire a stroller. There’s a lot of walking and having the stroller gives kids a resting place throughout the day. You can park strollers out the front of the rides so no need to worry about where to leave it.

16. Feel the magic. The only way to really enjoy Disneyland is to ditch your usual cynicism and enjoy the best showmanship on the planet. Disney puts on a performance like absolutely no other — something even non-Disney-lovers like my husband can appreciate if they want to.

PS: Want help planning your Disneyland or Disneyworld adventure? Contact Gina via her website.