We attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, Land and Sea, in February. My son was three months shy of his 15th birthday, and we discovered which he preferred, land or sea!
Prior to this we had our last family vacation at Walt Disney World in August, 2017. We found out our teenager was getting bored traveling with just his dads. When the conference opportunity came up, I asked my son if he would return to Disney, and he said yes knowing that there are a lot of fun extras when you attend Disney as part of a conference. I also explained that out of the 100 or more families at the conference there would be plenty of other teenagers for him to hang out with, some he had already met at a previous conference!
We had a blast, we had the trip of our life, we had more fun than we ever had at Walt Disney World. At the end of the last night on land, in Magic Kingdom, we were four families and 14 people. Adults and children, we traveled as a large pack and had a fantastic, wonderful, fun filled evening. Click this link for the pictures I just posted showing our group experience!
And yet, for teens, I recommend the cruise.
The chances of us being able to return to Walt Disney World knowing a dozen friends, is slim, unless it is another conference. My son is at an age where he needs to be with other kids his age. I do not know if I can afford to bring his friends on vacation with us in the future, that might be out of our price range.
So why is a Disney Cruise better for a teen?
Freedom. We started the cruise by registering Paul at Club Vibe, before the boat left the dock. He now had his freedom. Club Vibe is for teens 14+, perfect for my teenager. He started the cruise knowing many other teens from the first half of the trip, and then met a whole new bunch who were on the cruise and not even part of the conference.
We rarely saw our son, except when he was stuck with us for dinner!
The kids would congregate at Club Vibe, or just meet up to stroll around the ship. He and his new friends attended two movies when we were on the boat: NOTE – Disney Cruises are famous for playing first run Disney movies, so they got to see Black Panther the week after its release! Paul had quickly learned where all the snack spots were on the boat, so he was able to feed himself all day and night! If there was too much energy, the kids went to the basketball courts! There is even a quick video circulating of my son, and his new friend, the daughter of Montreal Mom, singing karaoke, and they were great!
And for the first time in our lives, we dads went to sleep before our son was home. He did make some noise while washing up, so I know he was home the first night at 1 am, and the second night at 3 am. For a 14 1/2 year old, this is a terrific freedom to enjoy! And for us parents, we knew he was safe, so we were less nervous than if we were home waiting for him to make curfew.
In conclusion, the Disney Cruise is fantastic for your teen, especially if he/she is out going and makes friends easily. Even if your teen has trouble making friends, the club is set up for kids to mingle and meet, and there is always the basketball court as the hub for teenagers to become instant friends. We always felt our son was 100% safe on the boat, so it was easy to let him have this greater amount of freedom. Same for Castaway Cay, the Disney private island. We did not see our son except in passing during the day, he was roaming the beach with a gang of new friends. We knew he would find the barbecue , and we were able to check with the boat crew to find out that he was back on the boat when we returned. We live in the heart of New York City and would never give him this level of freedom to come and go as he pleases, but on a Disney Cruise, he tasted freedom!
The Disney Cruise is the best choice for your teenager to enjoy freedom and new friends. We absolutely love the Disney Parks, but unless you are traveling with other teens, it might not be the first choice for your teen. For the sake of disclosure, we have also been to the Disney Parks one to two times every year for the last six years, so it is not as exciting as it once was, for our teen.
And this latest news on the Disney Cruise will get you even more excited to book!
The Disney Cruise Line fleet has the most beautiful ships at sea and the three newest vessels setting sail in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be no exception. This first, early rendering depicts the magnificent exterior of the newest Disney ships that will elevate family cruise vacations to a whole new level. In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own. The new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before. Ingenuity and innovation from stem to stern will amaze and delight Disney Cruise Line guests of all ages. Each new ship will be approximately 140,000 gross tons and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms.
And please check out my older post on how to save money at Walt Disney World. Prices have risen again at the Disney Parks, but most of the money saving hints will still work! I also wrote about how to stay at Walt Disney World for free!