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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Disney Cruise Line Announces Several New Policies

Disney Cruise Line released changes to various policies in the last few days.  Check them out. . .

New Internet plans and pricing
Disney Cruise Line is rolling out a new Connect@Sea Internet plan in the coming weeks to its four cruise ships. The new plan is based on the amount of data you use, not the time spent online, with packages available. Here's the new pricing structure:
  • Pay As You Go – $0.25 per MB
  • Small package – 100 MB for $19 ($0.19 per MB)
  • Medium package – 300 MB for $39 ($0.13 per MB)
  • Large package – 1,000 MB for $89 ($0.09 per MB)
Guests booked in Concierge Categories S, T and V Staterooms will receive the Small package (100 MB) at no charge. If they exceed that, they can purchase one of the packages described above.
Concierge Guests will continue to receive special internet package benefits:

Guests booked in Concierge Category R Staterooms receive free internet service for the length of the cruise.

The rollout is effective for each ship as of the following sailing dates:
  • Disney Magic – Monday, February 3
  • Disney Dream – Sunday, February 16
  • Disney Wonder – Wednesday, February 26
  • Disney Fantasy – Saturday, March 8
Williams Family Take—this will be great news to many as the price structure is now about data usage rather than time used.  Since wireless service was first introduced in the ships—a couple of years ago—a change in data plans was needed.  Bravo, DCL!  
We have yet to need/want data plans while sailing.  I am okay to be “unplugged” until we reach the mainland again.  But this change does provide guests with more options.
New policy regarding passenger-carried food
This new policy will have little impact on most passengers, but is a huge win for passengers with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, as well as for those traveling with toddlers.

Effective immediate, passengers can take "non-perishable, government-approved snack food items in their sealed, original packaging" with them when they disembark the ship in ports of call, as well as at the end of their cruise.

Disney allows passengers to bring this food onto the ships, but until now has forbidden passengers from taking any food off the ship, regardless of whether or not it is sealed. For people with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, this has limited their ability to participate in day-long shore excursions because they could not ensure the availability of safe-to-eat food at the various ports of call. Parents were not allowed to bring baby food off the ship.

Even with the new policy, passengers are not allowed to bring opened containers of food back onto the ship, so it's best to bring single-serving packages of the desired food with you so you don't wind up tossing the rest of an opened container. This is important for families who pack larger containers of formula.

As always, passengers may not bring perishable food, homemade food, pre-cooked food, or open containers onto the ships in any port, and may not take open containers off the ship at any time.

Passengers may bring a cooler no larger than 12" x 12" x 12" onto the ship only for the purpose of storing medication or baby food.

Food brought onto the ship must not require any food preparation assistance, and cast members are not allowed to assist passengers in preparing the food items. Food brought onboard can not be stored in the ship's galley, and must be stored in the passenger's stateroom.

Breast milk is not impacted by this policy, and may be brought on or off the ship as needed. Breast milk cannot be checked, and must be in the passenger's carry-on luggage.
Williams Family Take—we have previously brought pre-packaged food/snacks onboard and taken unopened snacks off the ship with us when returning to port.  Being able to take packaged food off the ship at various ports of call will be a bonus and money saver while in port!  While pre-packaged sandwiches are not listed on the room service menu, they are available (think Uncrustables) and packaged chips are available at the quick service locations on deck 9 or 11, depending on your ship.  With a little planning ahead, guests can now pack a lunch for a port of call without breaking any rules.
New wine pairing dinner at Palo
The adults-only Palo restaurant has added a new "Esperienza del Vino" wine pairing option during dinner service. Esperienza del Vino is a five-course fixed menu of dishes from the current Palo menu, paired with a set selection of Italian wines. The dessert course is paired with Passito Di Pantelleria Pellegrino 08.

The price for this new wine pairing option is $59, in addition to the current $25 dining fee. No substitutions are allowed in the Esperienza del Vino pairing, but you can still order off the menu if you prefer, at the standard $25 dining fee, and choose your own wines from Palo's wine list at an additional cost.

Williams Family Take—this is good news for wine lovers who want to be pampered.  Bon Appetite!
New pregnant passenger policy
Earlier this month, Disney Cruise Line amended its Terms & Conditions to update the policy regarding pregnant passengers. Previously, DCL would not allow you to sail if you had already entered the 24th week of pregnancy as of your sail date. Under the new policy, you may not sail if you will enter your 24th week at any time during the cruise.

The new policy reads:
"Women who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy as of their embarkation date or who will enter their 24th week of pregnancy during the cruise will be refused passage due to safety concerns. Neither a physician's medical statement nor a waiver of liability will be accepted. In addition, Disney Cruise Line cannot be held responsible or liable for any complications relating to pregnancy at any stage."
This policy is already in effect, so expectant women who have a Disney cruise planned should double check their dates to make sure they are still OK to sail.
Williams Family Take—This represents a minor change.  We knew of a family who was ready to sail in a handful of months and then found out they were pregnant.  Surprise!  Since I was familiar with this policy, I asked and they were not familiar with the policy.  The family canceled the cruise and is going to Walt Disney World instead.  Not sure what Disney could do to make this information a bit more well know, but it would be hard to ask prospective travelers, “Is anyone pregnant or planning to become pregnant prior to your cruise?” when making reservations.
New pricing structure for nursery service
The cost of It's a Small World and Flounder's Reef nursery service has been increased on all four cruise ships. Pricing for the first child is now $9 per hour, a 50 percent increase over the current $6-per-hour fee. Pricing for the second child in a family (staying in the same stateroom) jumped from $5 to $8 per hour.
Williams Family Take—Got it.  Budget accordingly.
New embarkation day hours for poolside sundry shops
The poolside sundry shops on three Disney Cruise Line ships will be open on embarkation day while the ships are still docked in Port Canaveral.

Whozits and Whatzits (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) and Quacks (Disney Magic) will open once embarkation begins so passengers can purchase sundries, toiletries, and pool items. If you've sailed with Disney Cruise Line, Quacks on the Magic is the tiny kiosk near the Mickey pool that seemingly appears out of nowhere—it actually folds into what looks like a support pillar of the ship. Quacks sells towels, sunblock, goggles, and small water toys.

Whozits and Whatzits is a larger store on the newer ships, and has a much larger selection including bathing suits.

Hours are as follows:
  • Quacks – Noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Whozits & Whatzits – Noon to 8:30 p.m.
Both shops are closed during the boat drill, as per regulation.
Previously, these stores were closed on embarkation day, leaving passengers no way to replace their forgotten sun block. One of my tips for families traveling with pool-crazy kids is to wear or carry bathing suits onto the ship, and use those first hours before the boat drill to get in some pool time before the other passengers get their luggage. It's one of the least-crowded pool experiences you'll get unless you stay on the ship during a port day.

All other DCL shops remain closed during embarkation as usual, and generally open once the ship is in international waters.
Williams Family Take—This is great news!  Now guests will be able to purchase forgotten or needed items once on board.  A rookie cruiser mistake is to pack all of that away, not knowing that staterooms won’t be available for a while and your luggage may arrive even later.  Carrying on swimsuits and sunscreen is the best, but in case you forgot, now you can purchase it once on the ship.  All of these shops are near the pool area too, making it very convenient.  Great change, DCL!

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