Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Teen Club on Disney Cruise Line

Aloft on the Disney Wonder

A lot of people think Disney Cruise Line = families with small children.
I’d like to tell you about teens sailing on the Disney Wonder.
My 15 ½ year old took me to Aloft that first afternoon to show off ‘her’ space. There are lounge areas, a bar (ok, smoothie bar but it looks really cool), dance floor, games, books, music, disco lights, TV’s and so much more (even their own elevator). It is a really cool place to hang out & chill. I was able to get a few pictures while I was there. Parents, if you’d like to see and learn a little about Aloft, go while the ship is still in port. That’s when they let parents tour and they will answer any questions that you have. After the ship is underway, no one over 18 is allowed, except for the counselors. This is great for several reasons. First, the teens wouldn’t go or stay if parents were hanging out in there. Secondly, it’s a safety measure and that’s a good thing.

The first day of the cruise, there is a notice on your cabin door, addressed to the teen in your party. “The 411 will be held at 10:30pm in Aloft” the message reads. That’s the first thing that makes your teen fall in love with this cruise; I don’t have to be back at 10:30pm the party is starting at 10:30pm!!!

The “411” was the teen planning session. There were suggested activities & options for the cruise and the teens voted on them. They were their own Cruise Director and because of this, each cruise is different based on the teens that are there. They are given 3-4 choices for each hour the club is open and they choose what to do each hour.
Planned activities on the ship included different scavenger hunts; Wii sports games, game shows, movies/TV, and workout time in the fitness center, arcade time, and smoothie hours (free smoothies at the bar), and on and on. If the teens aren’t “into” any of that, they aren’t locked in. They come & go freely from the club. There are sport courts on deck 10 forward that they can use (basketball, soccer….I even saw a Cricket game one night) ping pong tables all over, an arcade, and the pool. There is no requirement for the teens to participate, but the 411 planning gives them the chance to plan things they want to do.

The fun for teens doesn’t stop when you pull into Castaway Cay. The club closes, but that because the counselors are on the island. Don’t worry your teen can’t leave the ship on their own; a parent does have to sign them out for them to leave the ship. There is an excursion on the island for teens. If they do the excursion, they are with a counselor the whole time on the island. The other counselors are at the teen beach. Yes, you read that right, the teens have their own beach. “Danger” and “do not enter” signs were posted; clearly stating the beach was only for those between the ages of 13-17.

The great thing about the teen program, the teens feel like they’re being treated as grown-ups, not kids. The parents don’t have to worry because the teens are being supervised (in a non-threatening way). The counselors are young & fun and the teens like them.
My only complaint at all about the teen program isn’t really about the teen program. It’s that Aloft stays open until 1 or 2am depending on the night and those same nights the adult clubs/areas close at 12am or 1:30am. This isn’t a problem with Aloft being open too late, but the adult areas closing too early. I’d like to be able to stay out as late as my teen, or at least have the option to.

My daughter was texting and Facebooking with her new friends the minute we pulled back into port. As soon as we got home, she started planning for our next Disney cruise and is really pushing for the Trans-Atlantic or a Mediterranean cruise. She had the time of her life and I’ll bet your teen will too!

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