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Before we took our first Disney Cruise we researched what there was for tweens and teens to do onboard. Most articles highlighted the tween and teen-specific clubs. These clubs cater to specific ages and are a definite draw for teens and tweens, but what if your teen is shy, doesn’t make any connections with other teens, or what if they want to hang out with family of different ages? There is so much more to a Disney Cruise for teens than the teen club. We recently sailed on the Disney Dream with a 15 and 17-year-old as part of the Disney sponsored Creators Celebration (see more in my Instagram highlights) and we really wanted to pay attention to what they enjoyed and took part in aside from the teen club-specific activities. Here’s a list of things teens will love about a Disney Cruise beyond the teen clubs.
What Will Teens Like About a Disney Cruise Beyond the Tween and Teen Club
- BINGO – I, as an adult, had actually never officially played BINGO in a large group setting. So this trip I definitely wanted to try it. BINGO is held in one of the bars/clubs on the ship (you can get all the info on the Navigator on your Disney Cruise Line app when on the cruise or on the paper Navigator/schedule you’ll get in your room). Kids can come in and play right along with their parents! They can punch out numbers, help man the digital BINGO cards etc. They can even stand up and shout BINGO as long as there is an adult there with them. We played twice on our cruise and had so much fun even though we didn’t win any money. We did win a little Disney Cruise Line prize pack though!
- Family Game Shows – along the same lines as BINGO, each cruise offers different game shows that are family-friendly. These are always energetic and fun, and provide a different type of entertainment than teens are used to at home or out with friends.
- Movie Theater – my boys LOVE movies so they visit the movie theater several times on our cruises. What’s cool about a Disney Cruise is that they can feature brand new movies that are just being released on land as well as some sneak peeks.
- Sports – if your teen is into sports they can play basketball, ping-pong, learn shuffleboard, play mini-golf or use the golf simulator. Teens can also use the gym onboard if accompanied by a parent. My wrestler loved that he could take advantage of the weights!
- Food – unlimited included soft serve, buffets, pizza, burgers, fries, included room service, special treats from Vanellope’s, and family dinner every evening where they can order 2 entrees or all the desserts if they want to. Needless to say, food is definitely a highlight of a Disney Cruise for many teens! (P.S. this is what a room looks like with 4 people & 2 of them are teens lol! I ordered room service for the morning of Castaway Cay so we’d have coffee and a little something to eat while we got ready)
- Live Theater – if they think live theater is their “thing” or not, your teens will want to at least check out one of the fantastic shows onboard. The talent is amazing, and the shows are just the right length to hold everyone’s attention.
- Free Time – the best part of a cruise is the free time or family time that’s automatically built-in. I like to travel with a small deck of cards so that if we do have some time when the boys want to just chill in the room we have something “extra” to do. There are always movies on tv but there’s just something about a vacation that makes us want to play cards! I always make sure my kids have a book with them too. They definitely don’t get enough downtime in their day to day lives so it’s a great time for them to discover what they like to do when they relax.
- Freedom – especially younger teens who haven’t gotten a lot of freedom at home yet, the cruise ship is a perfect spot for them to practice some freedom and exploration on their own. Since they’re confined to the ship, parents can rest a little easier allowing them to go to the theater, or grab a snack by themselves. You can also use the onboard messaging service through the Disney Cruise Line app and/or there are phones available to use in your room that you can take around the ship for faster access to your family if needed.
You can learn more about the specific ships and activities on the Disney Cruise site. You can also learn a lot from the Disney Parks Moms Panel. For us, the best part about a Disney Cruise is the specified length of time to be together with intention. I love the dinners where everyone comes together and all the time to get to be a family.