April 9, 2014

All-Inclusive* - Beyond the Asterisk

Disney Cruise Line is all about the "All-Inclusive*" Disney vacation experience.
What on earth does that exactly mean?
What is included in "All-Inclusive*" vacations?
Why do you keep using that asterisk?

"All-Inclusive" means that you could theoretically get away without spending a single dime once you've paid the initial cost* and boarded the ship.
*Plus any ground transfers, pre- or post-stay hotel reservations, port parking, airfare and trip insurance.

Minimally, please budget for gratuities! The standard gratuity of $12 per passenger per night of cruise will be automatically added to your account. This tip will be divided amongst your dining room server, assistant server, head server and your stateroom host. If you wish to add to this tip for exceptional service, either adjust the tips at the guest services desk anytime during your cruise or else add cash to the envelopes left in your stateroom.

What is Included:

1.) All Food*
This includes as much in the way of breakfast, lunch and dinner (even dessert!) as you want. Room service, quick service, buffet and sit down meals are all included every day (port or sea day) for the duration of the cruise. Snacks offered around the ship in the lounges are included. Even lunch on Castaway Cay is included! Mickey bars from room service?

Breakfast with Goofy? Included*
*Exclusively offered on the Magic and the Wonder on longer cruises.
Character breakfasts are included but only offered on the Magic and Wonder on longer sailings with at least three sea days.
Also included. Everything you would want to eat for the entire cruise is included.
*Except snack bar items (prepackaged candy and popcorn either outside the theatre or ordered from room service), tips for room service, adults only dining at either Palo or Remy, and the Royal Court Royal Tea aboard the Disney Fantasy. Also not included, any meals on your way to or from the ship as well as when you are off of the ship in any port except Castaway Cay.

2.) All Drinks*
All the coffee, tea, sodas, juice or milk (even soy varieties) you care to drink in the dining rooms!
All the coffee, tea, milk or juice you care to order from 24 hour room service!

The Royal Treatment
Feeling civilized while drinking a cup of Twinings at breakfast? Included. 

All the coffee, tea, water or soda you care to pick up at the 24 hour drink station on the pool deck!
All the soda or water you care to pick up at the soda station on Castaway Cay!
*Exceptions apply:  Anything you order from a passing waiter at the pool or in a club will have a price. Any specialty drinks and smoothies (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) will have a price, whether ordered at dinner or on the go. Any coffee drink handled by a barista at the café will have a price tag similar to Starbucks. Soda (in cans) and water (in bottles) delivered via room service will have a price. Tastings (martini, beer, wine, etc.) are not included and you need to reserve these ahead of time at Guest Services.

3.) All Entertainment*
Broadway style shows, variety entertainers, animation classes, Art of the Theme tours, movie premiere events, pools, fitness center, karaoke, live music, dance parties, deck parties and adult only events.

5K? Included! T-shirt? Not included!
On Castaway Cay, the loungers, hammocks, crab racing, a separate on shore kids club and even the 5K is included! For the kids 3-17, the Oceaneer Club, Oceaneer Lab, Edge (tween club) and Vibe (teen club) and all their activities are included! Meet and greets with your favorite Disney characters around the ship are included and often the helpful cast member acting as their friend (escorting the character) would be more than happy to take a photo with your own camera or phone or let mom or dad do the honors.
*For (not yet potty-trained) any cruiser under 3, the nursery allows pre-booking of pay by the hour play time while their parents are free to explore the ship. Spa treatments are not included. Laundry (if you must do it) is not free, but the machines take your room key and detergent is also for sale. Port Adventures (the Disney term for excursions) are not included. Cabanas on Castaway Cay are sadly an arm and a leg. Bingo is played with real money for real cash prizes. The ARR-cade does not run on pixie dust alone. If you join an FE group, expect to budget for those gifts as well.
Any cute customized kids clothes you buy for the trip?
Sadly not included.

Tiltshift Fun
But they're so cute!
If you choose to buy the photos in Shutters or purchase some Mickey Ear hats, pins or indulge in some shopping in the gift shops or in port, those are (I hope, obviously) not included.

Why do you keep using that asterisk?
What can I say? I really, really love asterisks*.
*Although it is very possible to only spend the initial costs, travel costs and gratuities and enjoy a perfect vacation, I find most of my friends want a realistic look at what and where they might choose to add to their budget to personalize. For example, one of my dear friends (who shall remain nameless) was on a first name basis with the barista by late the afternoon of boarding. He has a serious Starbucks habit. He went into it eyes wide open, knowing that he paid for each of his Frappuccinos rather than getting a rude awakening on reviewing the bill at the end of his cruise. (Also he picked up the café buy five get one free card to help subsidize his need for caffeine.) I'm using the asterisk as a way to shed light on things you might love to try but might need to add into your budget before you hit the high seas.

What do you make sure to include in your cruise budget?
If you'll excuse me, I'm off to save up for a cabana on Castaway Cay!

March 25, 2014

Trying to Peek Under the Wrapping Paper

If last night were Christmas Eve, we're stuck in the "waiting for mom and dad to get out of bed" phase of things.

Full of box shaking, commencing now!

Meaning all of us DCL fans are congregating on message boards and Facebook groups looking at lists of best guesses (brought on by careful analysis of port calenders) and wild guesses (brought on by impatience and hopes).

Personally (and entirely selfishly), I would LOVE DCL to bring a ship back to Texas.

For now, though, the waiting.

March 24, 2014

Drum Roll Please!

'Twas the night before cruise schedule release and all through the net
Not a castaway was booking for summer 2015 yet.
The rumors were flung through the forums with glee,
 In hopes that DCL soon would port near me.

 I am SOOOO ready to find out about our big family reunion next fall and tomorrow is the day!

March 21, 2014

Shorts Saturday ~ Gawrsh!

Welcome Blog Hoppers to The Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere "Shorts Saturday" Blog Hop for the week of March 22. Every week, I host this link up blog hop to share a short and sweet version of our Disney love as we answer Disney related questions.
I'd love for you to grab the button and link up your post! We all love comments, so half the fun is visiting each other's blogs and commenting on their thoughts.
Our short and sweets prompt this week is "5 Favorite Ways to Goof Off"

5. Marathon of Once Upon A Time!
Best. Television. EVER!
4. Train for a marathon.
Just for kicks, without actually entering a marathon. I'm a little strange that way. Besides, marathons are expensive and I could use that money on other things, like, say, Disney vacations.
3. Research.
I told you I'm strange.
In a previous life (read, before children) I was a research assistant for neurology and ophthalmology, so yeah. Now I'm researching fun things, like homeschool curriculum and Disney vacations. (I'm not the only one who prices out vacations on DCL or WDW just for fun, right?) Yes, cross referencing is relaxing for me.
2. Blog friends!!!
It's nice to just surf around sometimes, but my favorite blog hopping is among friends, be they IRL or  those I only know via Facebook and the web.
I LOVE my local public library.

Tiny bookworm collects her weekly haul.
At any given point in time I have the maximum number of books checked out and the maximum amount of requests. That doesn't include my children, who have their own (separate) library cards. They each can check out only as many books as they can carry out to the car.

Now it's your turn! Link up and comment away. Thank you for joining in my blog hop!!!
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