Since we decided this epic trip is still on & are now getting down to the business of online check-in & finalizing reservations on board, I wanted to share the fun we have planned with my favorite group of people on the internet anywhere.
The General Plans
Three cruises back to back to back (3 nights, 4 nights & 3 nights respectively)
DH, me (DW), DS12, DD10, DS6 & DD4
The Disney Wish embarking from Port Canaveral with stops in Nassau (once each leg) & Castaway Cay (again, once each leg), one sea
DS12’s Goodbye to Oceaneer Club Days, especially since he lost 2 good years of kids club time to Covid Even though our original aim for this cruise at this time is no longer valid due to the changes to Oceaneer Club policy, we would live on a cruise ship nearly full-time if it were a feasible life option & the Disney service on board is truly mind-blowingly amazing.
So we’re 'ing this operation!!
For Legs 1 &2 online check-in is already completed. For Leg 1 Royal Gathering (a no extra cost, but does require a ticket, princess meet with 3-4 princesses) is already booked and tonight at 12AM EST Leg 2’s Royal Gathering opens up. Tomorrow is check-in for Leg 3 and a couple days after that, the last Royal Gathering booking opens up. We’ll do at least one & probably 2 Royal Gatherings, but not all 3. I might not even grab a reservation for Leg 3’s meet when it opens up in a couple of days just because I’m leaving that last end as devoid of plans as possible to pick-up anything we haven’t done the first two legs.
With Legs 2 & 3 it doesn’t matter when we complete the online check-in since we’ll be first back on the ship when the time comes to dis-embark & re-embark for the starts of those cruises. It’s so nice not to feel that pressure to get it done in 2-5 minutes for the very best port arrival times.
And then, for Leg 1, we decided to take a DCL ground transfer straight from MCO to the port & were gifted a beautiful Boarding Group 3 with an arrival time of 11:15-11:30am.
So if all goes to perfect plan, we’ll have so much time on the ship to dedicate to meeting characters, going on Disney’s at-sea-attraction Aquamouse, seeing all the Walt Disney Theater evening shows (up to 3x each), Pirate Night parties with fireworks at sea (3x!), and of course, as much Oceaneer Club/Edge time as the kids want. Not to mention all the trivia, Castaway Cay beach time & maybe even we’ll finally get out and see Nassau one of the 3 times we’re ported there.
And with that, here’s the Day 1 plans. I left off our flight but in case anyone is burning to know, it arrives to MCO at 5:50 AM and we’ll be hanging out near baggage claim/Terminal B hopefully taking turns taking some airport naps until the DCL shuttle opens (expected to be at 10 AM but we’ll start stalking at 9:30-ish or thereabouts to be ready to go as soon as they are there).
The un-bolded stuff is all flexible and subject to change & meant to squeeze in around the time-sensitive bolded stuff.
Leg 1 Day 1
DCL Shuttle MCO > Port Canaveral
PAT: 11:15-11:30 AM Boarding Group: 3
Orient & Explore Ship
Priorities: Dining team (Luna) if adding Palo Brunch Oceaneer Open House Characters & Enchanted Sword coffee on the way up to lunch
Marceline Market & Feastival of Foods
Rest in Stateroom Option to continue Oceaneer Club Open house, explore (Hyperspace or Edge), or Marceline Market for 2nds/more crab if rested
3:55 MUSTER DRILL- Station “W” Worlds of Marvel
4:45 Set Sail on a Wish Deck Party
5:15 for L, S & E X free time- check out Edge Open House
Shops Expected Opening
6:30 Disney Seas the Adventure (WD Theater)
Characters & Photos
Meets & Photo Ops in BBB attire In any free time shop, start playing Wishing Star, go to a trivia, Oceaneer/Edge, or take kids to see Hyperspace Lounge
8:15 Main Dining Room Rotational Dining
DINNER Cont’d + Photos
If done eating before characters are done, meet any available around atrium/balcony
Early ENCHANTED GOODNIGHT/Free Time/Oceaneers/Edge
Kids to Oceaneer/Edge (Make note of start time for Edge icebreakers for X (&E?) to attend) If there is a posted time for an early enchanted goodnight aim for sleepy kids to see that & head to bed, instead of to Kids Club Mom & Dad free time Unpack & assemble FE, enjoy Verandah (w/ wine if able to bring on flight checked bag or buy before embarking), order room service before getting awake kids
Free Time/Oceaneers/Edge cont’d
Get any awake kids a few minutes before midnight to attend in atrium Room Service >Get Mickey bars, midnight snacks
Put out door hanger for Coffee & Uncrustables/Pastries for 7-7:30am delivery
We’re trying not to be nervous about the flight plan but between travel insurance and the fact that it’s several legs so if something were to prevent us from making the first one, it should still be doable to get there in time for the 2nd (barring it’s not a cataclysmic event that delays us getting to the first leg).
But yes, for both of our previous cruises we’ve gone in 5 & 4 days earlier than the cruise and done the parks, both WDW and UOR. And actually this time, the first leg was added after the fact and the original plan was to come in a few days early, do maybe a day or so in the parks & then go on 2 legs of the cruise, but we decided we really wanted a third go at the ship so booked that instead of anything land-based.
Sounds like crazy fun is in store! I’m not well versed in cruises but why not take a longer cruise instead of back to back short ones? Also will you be allowed to stay on the ship, leave your things on the ship between legs?
We picked the Disney Wish specifically because it has a LOT of IPs we love, like Marvel, a build your own suit & then test it out in a fight simulator-deal-thing in the kids club & one of the main restaurants with a Marvel adventure/show during dinner, also Frozen with another main restaurant with a dinner show with all the characters singing all the Frozen songs including a signing Olaf puppet, and a paid extra event, Olaf’s Royal Picnic (another chance to see the Olaf puppet) that takes place in dining room during the day. And so we wanted to do all that.
But the Wish only does 3 or 4 night cruises. We started out thinking we’d try to get two different 4 nights to get DS12 enough time in the kids club specifically before he aged out (used to be 13, but as of Dec 21, 2023 suddenly became 11 so DS12 will be now trying out Edge & maximizing open house kids club time to do all the things he’d hoped to do there). Then when pricing out the cheapest 2 4 night legs that were feasible for us to , I realized that if we did a 4+3 back to back we’d only fly out once & DH loved that idea so we booked it. And then we didn’t think 7 nights would be enough (specifically for DS12 in the kids club) so we added another 3 on the front of of the 7 we already had booked.
Cannot stay on the ship but will be the last off & first back on. My understanding is that we’ll wait in one of the lounge areas until everyone else is off the ship & then we’ll be escorted off by a DCL agent straight to the check-in desk & then it’s about an hour give or take waiting in the terminal once the ship is fully cleared for embarkation. Being the first back on the ship means that we’ll be even ahead of (or at the very worst case scenario same time as) as concierge guests who aren’t also back to back.
Our things can stay on the ship. If we had planned more in advance we would’ve been able to keep the same rooms and never have to pack. But we weren’t able to get all the same rooms so we do have to pack our bags, but can leave them in the room the morning of and they will be transported for us to the next room.
We’ve done a few back-to-backs on RCL, and it works much as you’ve described. We all had to physically leave the ship, go through customs/border patrol just to verify identity (super quick), then go back on - once the ship gives the ok.
Turnaround days can be interesting, especially if you have a balcony that overlooks the dock. You can see all the loads of freight that come off the ship, and new loads that go on.
We’ve really hated debarkation day on our so far two cruises so I think a huge appeal to the back-to-back is getting to defeat that feeling & instead feel a little special getting back on. Good to know that our expectation is about what you’ve experienced.
You can sleep in, a bit, and do breakfast. No rush. But you still have to be out of your room fairly early, just so they can start cleaning/changing the room for the next people.
And you don’t have to give up any luggage the night before, nor wrestle with it all in the morning. They move it for you. Just be sure to have what you need to get by until you can get into your new cabin, which might be 1:00 (on RCL, I don’t know about DCL).
It sounds so blissfully pleasant. I think even if we’re getting a new room it might be ready earlier than regular rooms are (~1:30 for DCL), but I’m not confident about that. And we’ll be just fine it if is normal for everyone else since if we just want to rest we’ll just hole up in Marceline’s with all the plates of crab we can get.
Ah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that be the case for DCL in my personal experience or any vlogs we’ve watched. Usually the hallway to the rooms is roped off and really easy to open up to access, but usually there’s CM’s close by to steer you clear of it if the rooms aren’t yet ready.
One thing I forgot about, on our last B2B, they had a special lunch for those of us who did the B2B, held in a section of the main dining room (which was otherwise closed on embarkation day to new people). Maybe DCL will have some nice things for you, too!
One vlog I watched said they were had specialty coffee (usually an extra charge) for free in the Marceline Market (buffet area) along with a spread of pastries (usually no extra charge but is likely the only available food out at that time) just for the B2B-ers. So my plan is to head that way and check it out. DH may also need to login to work a couple of the days we’re in port so that seems like a nice area to hole up with a table and a view even if there’s not pastries and coffee out.
This sounds like such a great plan! We thought about doing a Wish back to back before we decided on the Fantasy 7 day instead. There are a lot of great offerings on the Wish that we hope to experience one day.
The Fantasy seems to be the all-around favorite for most repeat cruisers so I would love to get a chance to go and the 7 day itineraries look amazing, Eastern or Western. The Wish’s offerings totally won out for us because of where we are now as a family and all their stuff that looks SO COOL. I hope you get the Wish one day too!
Cruise preparations are coming along ever so nicely, despite all of Disney IT’s attempts to foil all my plans and crush all my hopes & dreams (seriously, what is stopping Disney from having functional website that can handle traffic at times they release a new booking/event/merchandise and doesn’t crash eleventy billion times for everyone?)
Royal Gatherings are all booked and check-in for the last leg done so currently am on a cease-fire with Disney IT. Now pre-packing and gathering in a pile begins pirate costumes, Olaf shirts and matching family tees, oh my! And pulling together the last couple of fish extender gifts we have to pull together.
But in the meantime, here’s Days 2 & 3 plans below which will bring us to the last night of Leg 1.
Leg 1 Day 2
Room Service light breakfast- on Verandah’s
8:00 AM and 9:00AM
Oceaneer Open house & Characters
Late Breakfast- Marceline Market
11:30 AM Royal Gathering in BBB/dress-up attire
Free Time- lunch can go here or ship activities/Kids to Oceaneer/Edge
Lunch Marceline Market & Feastival of Foods
2:00 PM and 3:00 PM
2:30 PM Olaf’s Royal Picnic- Whole Family In Arendelle attire
Photo/Characters (Change to Pirate Attire if characters are)
Fish Extender Delivery Once done can lounge on verandah (watching sailaway from Nassau) or enjoy any ship activities until show, including pool/slide if warm enough
The Little Mermaid (WD Theater)
Pirate Festivities Pirate character meets or photo ops between show & deck party 7:45 Mickey & Minnie’s Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party
8:15 Main Dining Room Rotational Dining
DINNER Cont’d + any Characters/Photo Ops available after
10:15 Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay (Deck) Party w/ Fireworks Kids to Oceaneer/Edge (or bed if needed) Mom & Dad free time
Free time/Kids club cont’d (order room service before grabbing kids from Oceaneer)
ENCHANTED GOODNIGHT In Atrium Room Service- Mickey bars, midnight snacks Put out door hanger for Coffee & Uncrustables/Pastries for 7-7:30 delivery
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Leg 1 Day 3
7:00 AM and 8:00 AM
Coffee/Pastry on Verandah Get ready for CC, head to full breakfast earlier if ready
Breakfast Marceline for buffet or sit down 1923
Pool, Play or Beach Can rope drop Aquamouse OR Oceaneer Open House OR disembark
Character Meets & Photos
Beach Time No booked beach activities
Cookie’s BBQ Lunch
2:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Pool or Beach Stay on beach or return to ship for end of Oceaneer Open House
Snack at: Feastival of Foods/Joyful Sweets or Keg&Compass/Bayou 4:45 PM Return to room, watch sail away from CC on Verandah- ready for photos around dinner
Photo Sweep-up Meet any missing characters or do other ship actiities if no one to meet
Aladdin (WD Theater)
Final Photo Sweep-up Any missing characters or ship activities
8:15 Main Dining Room Rotational Dining
DINNER Cont’d + Trivia If done eating by 9:30 Ultimate Disney Trivia in Triton’s Lounge
10:15 WISHing Ever After Atrium Party 10:45 Kids to Oceaneer/Edge
Mom & Dad free time Organize bags for tomorrow, enjoy verandah w/ wine & call room service before picking up kids
ENCHANTED GOODNIGHT In Atrium Room Service Get Mickey bars, midnight snacks, coffee carafe & Uncrustables
I think we enjoyed the second cruise more than the first one so I can see how people feel that way. It was a close call between the Fantasy and the Wish, though, so I’m sure we would have loved the Wish too.
Wow - you really have the planning figured out! Even if I could come up with a detailed plan I probably couldn’t get my family to fall in line.
When we’ve gone for just the one cruise leg I haven’t at all felt the need to plan anything other than packing what clothes for what night and maybe have an idea of what we’ll do at Castaway Cay. But with 3 legs and this time deciding to actually do Bibbidi Bobbidi Botique with the 3 younger kids AND Olaf’s Royal Picnic and Palo and going for 3 different legs (and actually wanting to get off in Nassau once to walk around like I had envisioned doing the first time we planned to cruise), I was losing track of everything just keeping it in my brain so I made a spreadsheet.
Spoiler alert for my trip: I doubt I’ll be able to get mine to follow anything that’s not bolded. DH already doesn’t agree that the first stop should be Oceaneer Club Open house and has told me he’ll be up at the buffet getting started on his crab eating & we can come find him there when we’re done playing.
And once we get to the 2nd and 3rd legs we already talked about how all of it will become a lot more whatever we feel like doing that day on the ship & not having plans (I won’t even make my kids dress up for anything they’re not feeling). The first leg though it worked out that I could get BBB times I liked AND and Olaf’s Royal Picnic, so we’ll keep to most plans there & then let everyone lose to do as they please for legs 2 & 3.