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How to Really SURPRISE Your Kids for your Disney Cruise Line Vacation

Updated on July 5, 2013

Note: I suggest you read this Hub in an area away from your kids while planning and booking your Disney Cruise Line vacation. We don't want them to find out too soon, do you?

So you've got your date for your Disney cruise settled, right? Stateroom assignment? Check. Dining reservations for your adult's night out? Check. Port Adventures (DCL-speak for shore excursions) tickets? Check.

And if you have children who will tag you along for the voyage, chances are that you've been keeping the cruise a secret from them.

Some people spill the beans about their Disney cruise from a few weeks to dead on embarkation day. Here's how you can tell them subtly (or not-so-subtly) that they are sailing with the Mouse. (Just make sure there are no kids about when booking or taking brochures and paperwork home. You're keeping it as a secret.)

Me on Castaway Cay, with the Disney Wonder in the background, August 2008
Me on Castaway Cay, with the Disney Wonder in the background, August 2008

Wrap it in Pretty Bows and Paper

This method of spilling the beans is really effective if you are gift-giving for your children's birthday, anniversary, or Christmas. Wrap a message with a Disney-themed item (preferably a Disney cruise-related item) or even your physical vacation package. If you want to make it more subtle, make a puzzle of the ship, package the pieces and wrap them.

Have A Character Call them

You can get your kids' favorite Disney Character to make a phone call telling them that they are going on a cruise. The call is free (if using a cell phone, make sure you have unlimited minutes or gauge your minutes remaining) once you've booked your cruise.

To schedule a call, go to your reservations, click on the link to schedule a call. Then, select a character. The selections vary by reservation. Most let you choose between Goofy and Mickey, and some have Ariel as one of the options. Select your itinerary (ex. Bahamas on the Dream if sailing on the Disney Dream to the Eastern Caribbean), then fill out the phone number, date, and time of your call (9:00PM to 7:45 PM).

Mickey (one of the options for a Character phone call) on the Disney Wonder, August 2008
Mickey (one of the options for a Character phone call) on the Disney Wonder, August 2008

On the date of the call (make sure the ringer is ON and the call is scheduled preferably after school or when your kids are out of it), answer it and use the dialer to press "1." You MUST answer it within 40 seconds - this is a one-time call.

I suggest scheduling it weeks before the cruise so that the kids can have a lot of leeway in learning about the ship and selecting clothes to pack.

Me, in front of the Disney Wonder in Port Canaveral, August 2008
Me, in front of the Disney Wonder in Port Canaveral, August 2008

Take A Detour

Tell your kids ahead of time that they are going somewhere other than the ship. If your ship sails from Port Canaveral, for instance, tell them that they are going to Grandma's house for the week. If you're flying, just tell them that they are going to a friend's house.

If you are driving on embarkation day (or the day before), deliberately make a detour from the exit to Grandma's or your friend's and head to the port or airport. If arriving on the latter, hand them shirt that says that they are going on a Disney cruise. Then watch their faces!

Here's an Example: Family Drives to North Carolina, then Detours to Port Canaveral for a Cruise!

Scavenger Hunts

One of the most popular ways to spill the beans to kids about a Disney cruise in the horizon is to organize a scavenger hunt. Have your kids find clues that lead to the big announcement. For added fun, theme it as a pirate treasure hunt.

And Didn't I Mention a PIRATE TREASURE HUNT?

Have Them See Your Wall Post of the Cruise On Social Media

If you have kids who are old and mature enough to be members of social media sites, have them look at your post on the same site. If you have younger kids, show them your post with them. Though they are young, they are at least supervised.

Just Wait - then ANNOUNCE!

For a low-cost way of spilling the beans, wait until about a few weeks until your cruise, then announce it to your kids. If desired, make Mickey-shaped pancakes for breakfast to give them a hint. Then show them the brochures, the boarding passes, the picture of the ship, and other Disney Cruise Line-related items. 'Nuff said.

How do you tell your kids that they're cruising with you on a DCL ship?

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In front of the Disney Wonder In Nassau, Bahamas, August 2008
In front of the Disney Wonder In Nassau, Bahamas, August 2008


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    • jabelufiroz profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Thanks for the information on Disney Cruise Line vacation. Voted up.


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