A few weeks before our cruise on board the newly reimagined Disney Wonder, I sat down with my daughter to figure out what our must-see activities would be while we were onboard:
“Should we reserve a time to meet the princesses?”
“No. I don’t care about princesses anymore, mama.”
She’s only eight years old, but every day I feel like she ages a month. Soon, she’ll be 18 and heading off to college and I’m desperate to hold on to every ounce of her childhood I can. She’s replaced Disney movies with tween shows and XD series. Picture books have been replaced with chapter books. Instead of playing Sofia the First, she wants to play veterinarian or pop star.
Fast forward a few weeks, and we’re boarding the Disney Wonder:
“Should we go to the activities desk and see if there are any tickets left to meet Ana and Elsa or the other princesses?”
“I told you, mama, I don’t want to meet any characters. Especially not princesses.”
I told her we’d be seeing a dress rehearsal of the all-new Frozen: A Musical Spectacular, to which she responded with a shrug and a “I don’t really like Frozen anymore, mama.”
The first night, we dined at Tiana’s Palace, a completely new dining experience. I was excited. The Princess and the Frog is one of my favorite Disney movies and I love good Southern Cuisine. I could see my daughter wasn’t as excited. She was excited for the band, that’s for sure, but as for seeing Tiana? Well, she claimed she couldn’t care.
And then Tiana came on stage in her gorgeous white dress and I saw the magic return to my daughter’s eyes. She smiled wider than I had seen her smile in a while. Tiana makes her way around the restaurant to meet with all of her guests. After Tiana stopped at our table, my daughter leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Mama, Tiana is so pretty. And she’s so nice.”
For the rest of cruise, little moments of magic crept back into her life. She picked out a stuffed sailor Pluto to bring home as a souvenir. We found ourselves waiting in lines to meet characters. She sang along and clapped wildly during the Frozen rehearsal, and even asked to see it again that night for the official premiere. She bounced up and down during the Pirates In The Caribbean deck party, yelling and waving as Mickey flew through the air to defeat the dastardly pirate foes.
We spent plenty of time in the stateroom where she’d watch Mickey cartoons over and over again, playing with her new pal Pluto, and imagining she was running her own version of Tiana’s Place. She made sure we stayed up late on the last night of the cruise to watch the “‘Til We Meet Again” show and bounced from character to character to wait in line. Our final character meeting of the night? Cinderella.
People ask me if Disney Cruise Line vacations are “worth it.” To that, I can only say “yes.” Watching my daughter believe again? Watching the amazement and wonder in her eyes? Well, to me, that is worth every penny, and it’s why we’ll return to Disney Cruise Line again someday.
Thank you to Disney Cruise Line for hosting us on this vacation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.