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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Wiliams Family--Reflecting on the Kids' Clubs on Disney Cruise Line

I can recall the moment as clear as a bell.  It was March of 2007 and we were enjoying our first Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder--a 4 night itinerary to The Bahamas.  Our stateroom had a verandah; a Navigator's verandah it was called as it was partially closed in.  The then four-year-old boy was up, not happy due to the early hour, sitting on the verandah and bemoaned, "I just want 5 minutes in my club."  Well, the day's agenda did not include a visit to "his club" but we got the hint.

Eight cruises later, he's spent time in all of the kids' clubs--minus the nursery for under 3-- on board the four Disney ships.  Now that he's a teen, Vibe is his destination.  And, we've learned that we get to enjoy the adult offerings on a Disney Cruise.
At Pink on the Disney Dream

In the Rainforest Room on the Disney Dream

Quiet Cove, adult's only pool on the Disney Dream

Disney Cruise Line Youth Clubs are based on ages, and potty training status, which thankfully, we don't have to be concerned about.  Ages 3-12, Oceaneer's Club (usually for the younger ages) and Oceaneer's Lab (usually for the older kiddos in that age range) are the places for kids to be.  Located on Deck 5 mid-ship, they are easy to find and the hallways nearby are usually very busy.  The ages for this category somewhat merge for the convenience of siblings.  The older kiddos get additional privileges, if parents allow, to check themselves in/out of the club.  This privilege starts around age 9 and is automatic at age 11, unless parents them block/stop the privilege.  Children registered for the Oceaneer's Club and Lab are given MagicBands featuring Captain Mickey.  There's a charge for the bands upon receipt and then refund once the bands are returned.  Of course, guests can keep them--for the fee--as they do open special accessories on the WiiU game back home!

For children ages 11-14, Edge is the designated spot for tweens.  See the age overlap there?  11 and 12's can select which kids area they want to frequent and can actually do both Edge and Oceaneer's Lab!  When the boy was 12, he could do both and spent most of his time in Edge, which has various locations depending on the ship.  He received an Edge sticker for his Key to the World card which would be scanned as he entered and exited Edge, just like the MagicBands for the younger sailors.

For teens, ages 14-17, Vibe is the place to be.  Again, age overlaps and 14 year olds get to frequent both Edge and Vibe.  When the boy was 14, he was at both, depending on the activity.  Teens who register themselves at Vibe, trade in their regular Key to the World card for a Vibe card.  All the same info, just a special Key to The World card for the teens.  Vibe's location varies by ship, too.  As a 14 year old, the boy had a Vibe card with an Edge sticker.  This last cruise, as a 15 year old, Vibe was his only choice and he loved it!

Our first afternoon on board, he went to Vibe while I was unpacking, got a new Key to the World card, and brought me the paperwork for the teen's only excursion--Wild Side--on Castaway Cay.  After I signed, he returned the paperwork and was on his way.  Almost any free time he had and Vibe was open, he was there.  They also have a teen hangout on Castaway Cay, just like the other kids' clubs have designated spots on the island.

Want to know what's happening in the kids' clubs?  Just check the daily Navigator.  A paper version is provided to you as you board and then again each night for the next day OR you can download and use the Disney Cruise Line app which lists activities for the length of the cruise.

Goofy's pajama party, slime making, character visits, pool parties, magic play floor games, etc. round out the nearly round-the-clock activities for the younger set on board.

Unsure if your child would enjoy the clubs?  On the first afternoon and then again for a portion of each day, the clubs hold "Open House" times.  These are times when anyone can go into the clubs to play, including adults who enjoy the magic play floor, too!  Families can go together and play so a child can become familiar.  Children who are in the clubs when it's Open House, but are there for secure supervision, will go visit one of the other club locations for security purposes.  When the boy was 14, we did this.  We visited both Edge and Vibe the first afternoon on board so he could check them out and see which he liked better.  It also gave me a chance to ask the Vibe staff any questions. Look for Open House times listed on the daily Navigator.

The boy raced off to Vibe as soon as we gave him the green light our first evening on board.  I have no idea what time he returned to our stateroom, but he was there in the morning.  He already had a nickname--Chicken tendies.  One evening I heard teens walking by our stateroom and a girl said, "That's where the Chicken Tenders guy lives."  The other voices then chimed in about him being funny.  I smiled and chuckled.  One day we asked if he ate lunch and he said yes.  He and another Viber delivered pizzas and chicken tenders for everyone.  He also enjoyed pool fun, as Vibe on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy has its own pool space, just outside on Deck 5 forward.  Only the teens get to use it . . . unless you go to an Open House!

We were invited to return to Vibe on the last night of the cruise for a special viewing of a video featuring some of the kids in Vibe.

Here's the video! 

There are some rules that apply on the ship, too. No going into other's staterooms, unless we know them.  And, no one in our stateroom while we are out.  He abides by those rules.

Now that the boy is comfortable, and dare I say confident, in his use of Vibe, we're already planning ahead.  The husband will point out activities for what is called the 1820 Society on the ship.  This group has planned, but not hosted by crew, activities for guests 18-20 years old.  Not old enough for the adult activities, but too old for the kids' clubs. We've seen this group out and about--bike riding on Castaway Cay, etc.  Each time, we point it out so the boy knows what to expect next. . . after Vibe.

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