Planning Your Cruise on Disney Cruise Line – What’s Included – What’s Not

A Disney cruise isn’t exactly the cheapest way to cruise. If you book early, you will find your costs lower. You will get the absolute best price for a Disney cruise when the new dates and itineraries are released. When it comes to Disney Cruise Line, I always recommend using a Disney Travel agent who can monitor the prices and get you booked at the best time and at the best price.

What's Included Disney Cruise Line

What’s Included ~ Disney Cruise Line

Lets face it, a Disney cruise is a perfect family vacation and a trip the entire family will never forget. When you are in the planning stages of your Disney cruise, you’ll be surprised at the many things that are included in your fare:

  • All quick service meals on board the ship
  • All table service meals on board the ship (except for adult-only fine dining experiences)
  • Meals on Disney Castaway Cay
  • Room service – order a before bed snack 
  • Character meet and greets
  • Fitness Center use
  • All you can drink soft drinks and hot drinks
  • Unlimited ice cream
  • Live entertainment including deck parties and Broadway type shows
  • Recreational activities
  • Activity centers for the children that provide programming for the little ones
  • Free use of the Navigator APP that will give you access to daily schedules and ship information on your phone (be sure to set your phone to air plane mode). A paper edition of the Navigator will be left in your cabin each night with the next day’s schedule of activities and shows.

Money Saving Tip: If you just LOOOOOVVVVVED your Disney cruise and can’t wait to sail again, you’ll want to save money and get an on-board credit. All you have to do is stop by the Future Cruise Desk during your cruise and put down a $250 ‘place holder’. You will have two years to travel so you don’t have to choose any dates at that time. It’s refundable if you change your mind. The Future Cruise Desk will have all the details on what percentage of discount you can receive, how much on-board credit, etc. It definitely worth stopping by.

What’s NOT Included ~ Disney Cruise Line

After paying off your Disney cruise, you may very well be on a tight budget so it’s good to know what things are not included so you can plan accordingly. Some of these “not included” items are optional so you won’t have to worry about them if cost is an issue. You will still have a fabulous vacation and won’t be surprised by a high bill afterwards.

It may surprise many frequent WDW visitors that Ground Transfers are not included. If you frequent WDW you know that Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary to and from the airport. When it comes to making your way to Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line buses do charge a per person fee. It is around $70 per person round trip. If you book it while booking your cruise, the cost will get added on to the total cost of your cruise. The bus service offers pick-ups and drop-offs at either a Walt Disney Resort or at Orlando International Airport. 

Every cruise line offers Port Adventures and Disney does too! Unfortunately, these excursions can be one of the most expensive extras during your cruise. The cost for optional activities at the ports of call can range anywhere from $25 to $500 per person. Disney does offer a wide range of excursions so changes are you will be able to find something within your budget. There is lots of fun possible on Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, which also includes your meals so there is no need to spend on extra excursions there. Many cruisers also choose to stay on the ship while in port to take advantage of all the ship offers while others go off on excursions.

For adults only, fine dining at Palo or Remy. Both restaurants offer dinner service and different tasting options throughout each cruise. Reservations are needed in advance and both restaurants are considered quite expensive. 

This is a big one! Internet Usage packages are expensive on all cruise lines, not only Disney. My best recommendation when it comes to this is unplug if you can. If you can’t, be prepared forif a high cost. Each stateroom is offered 50MB complimentary Wi-Fi on embarkation day, but once that is used (and believe me it goes away fast) you can purchase one of several offered packages that are really high priced. Also, be sure to put your cell phone on air plane mode so you don’t risk getting hit with a huge cell phone bill a month after you get home.

Photos – Just like in the parks, Disney photographers have a knack for capturing you from your best angle! There are many different packages you will be able to purchase but they are pricey. The ships have photography studios that let you view and purchase all the  pictures taken of your family. Character meet and greets are always a favorite! You can purchase individual photos (around $20 each) or full packages that can cost several hundred dollars. You can also pre-purchase a photo package starting at around $150 and up.

Gratuities – Disney definitely knows how to give guests great service and Disney Cruise Line is no different. You will definitely be impressed with the level of service you receive on your cruise from the servers that follow you from restaurant to restaurant as part of the rotational dining system to your Stateroom Host that gives you your nightly turn-down service (and just about anything else you may need in your cabin), the service will be top-notch. You will definitely want to be sure you take care of gratuities. You can pre-pay your gratuities which is $12 per night for each person in your cabin. However, this amount gets split between all of the staff that has worked with you during your cruise. The cruise line will provide you with a tipping envelope and suggested tips for the different service personnel so you can always add more for a certain individual or all of them, if you wish.  

Cocktails – If you like to enjoy a few of those cute little cocktails with an umbrella while on vacation, you will definitely need to add some extra to your budget for cocktails. You don’t want to be surprised at the end of your cruise with a big bill that you aren’t prepared for. Prices vary and can be as much as $14 or $15 per drink. Since your cocktails will be added to your stateroom’s bill you don’t want a huge surprise on the last day. Be sure to keep track of what you are spending/drinking. You are welcome to carry on two bottles of wine and six bottles of beer for each adult in your party. Be sure to pack a corkscrew to open the bottles of wine since the uncorking fee is high if you let your server do it.

Some Snacks –  Although all of your food is included in the cost of your cruise, there are a few snack options that will cost you. Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats on the Disney Dream offers some great special treats but everything in this shop costs extra and is not included in your fare. The concessions stands located outside the theaters are also snacks that you will have to pay for.  

Spa Treatments – Pirate and Princess Makeovers – Be careful here! You can easily add several hundred dollars onto your end of cruise bill. The spa will easily cost you over $100 or much more and a pirate or princess makeover for the little ones can start around $60 and run up to close to $200. 

Although the Children’s Activity Center is included in your cruise cost, if you have a little one between 6 months and 3 years of age that you would like to leave in the NURSERY for an afternoon or evening of relaxation, there will be a charge. The cost is around $9 per hour for the first child and $8 per hour for each additional child.

When planning to cruise on Disney Cruise Line, you’ll want to be prepared for any extra costs that weren’t included in your fare so your vacation won’t be hampered by unexpected costs – Bon Voyage!

Before setting sail you might want to read about some Secrets of Disney’s Castaway Cay HERE.

What's Included Disney Cruise Line

Walt Disney World Churros – Where to Find Them and How to Make Them at Home!

We all have a favorite Walt Disney World snack. You know – that snack that you can’t go home from WDW unless you have it at least once! We love the Churros – so when I saw that the Disney Parks Blog recently published the recipe to make these treats at home, I was thrilled. They are easy to make and are delicious but I’m not sure it’s really the same as the feeling you get eating them at Walt Disney World!

WDW Churros Recipe

There are several spots where you can get churros in Walt Disney World (my favorite are the ones at Peco Bills!):

In Epcot, head over to the Mexican Pavilion where you can get Churritos with chocolate and caramel syrup at San Angel Inn Restaurante as well as La Hacienda de San Angel. Churros with caramel dipping sauce can also be found at La Cantina de San Angel.

Churro Bites from Pecos Bills

In the Magic Kingdom Park, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has a churro treat perfect for snacking on while waiting for the parade go by! Available year-round, the cinnamon sugar churro bites come with a chocolate dipping sauce. Or try the Cookies ‘N Cream Churros at Tortuga Tavern

Cookies N Cream Churros

If you like fondue, you can get churro fondue at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs. These house-made churros come with a chocolate hazelnut sauce and vanilla ice cream.

WDW Churro Recipe

Check out the recipe and the recipe video below to learn how to make some delicious homemade churro tots.


  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 oz butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • Cinnamon/Sugar Mix
  • 1 ½ cup oil

1. Combine 1 cup water, 4oz butter, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp cinnamon in a pot over medium heat
2. Bring pot to a rolling boil
3. Add 1 ¼ cups flour
4. Reduce heat to low
5. Stir vigorously until the mix forms a ball
6. Remove from heat and let rest for 5-7 min
7. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, and stir until combined
8. In a skillet, heat 1 ½ cups of oil to 350o and stir
9. Spoon rested dough into a piping bag
10. Squeeze 1-inch strips into hot oil
11. Fry churro tots until golden
12. Drain churro tots on a paper towel
13. Coat in cinnamon/sugar mix
14. Serve with melted chocolate sauce


WDW and DL News from D23 Expo Japan 2018

There really wasn’t anything new announced for the U.S. parks, but some more details about things we were already aware of were revealed. A few definite opening dates and hints at timing for other attractions is really all we are learning with these announcements.

At Walt Disney World!

During D23 Expo Japan 2018, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek revealed new details about major expansion in progress across Walt Disney World Resort leading up to the 50th Anniversary. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for guests:

Toy Story Land

The fun will soar to infinity and beyond beginning this summer with the opening of Toy Story Land. This playful new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard where guests will feel like they have been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz, as they are surrounded by oversized toys. Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land that includes two major new attractions.

Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster that will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops through the world of Andy’s toys. Guests can also spin around with little green aliens aboard Alien Swirling Saucers and quick refreshments will be on tap at Woody’s Lunch Box.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

This highly anticipated new land is set to open in 2019, both at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park – on a grand scale – including the creation of a full-sized fleet of X-wing star fighters and a life-size Millennium Falcon star-ship.

The totally immersive land will include two jaw-dropping attractions that allow guests to have control of their experiences. One attraction will put guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance—inside a Star Destroyer. In the second attraction, guests will have the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon – the most famous ship in the galaxy. Throughout the land, guests will also have the chance to interact with Chewie, the lovable BB8 and members of the First Order, plus wander through a toy shop in the street market run by a Toydarian, one of the creatures from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

WDW News D23 Japan

Immersive Star Wars-Themed Hotel

Fans can live out their Star Wars adventures beyond the theme parks with an immersive

experience at a groundbreaking new Star Wars–themed hotel concept. The epic new experience will take guests to a galaxy far, far away and will be seamlessly connected to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new land set to open in 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unlike anything that exists today, the new luxury resort will completely immerse guests in an authentic Star Wars story. The journey through space begins the moment guests arrive, as everyone boards a star-ship and departs together for a multi-day Star Wars adventure. An opening date for the new hotel has not been announced.

Guardians of the Galaxy Attraction at Epcot

Larger-than-life Super Heroes will descend upon Epcot with the opening of a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. Based on the rockin’, action-packed “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, this one-of-a-kind family attraction will feature a brand-new, innovative ride system – and will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world! Coming to Epcot Future World, the new attraction will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The first ever ride-through attraction themed to Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will delight guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning in 2019. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new original story and lovable theme song, as it takes guests on a journey inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts. New technologies will transform the two-dimensional cartoon world into an incredible multi-dimensional experience. Walt Disney World Resort guests will step through the movie screen and join Mickey and pals on this wacky adventure. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature dazzling visual effects, a lovable theme song, and twists and turns ideal for the whole family.

A New Family-friendly Show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Just in time for the 20th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a new, family-friendly show will debut at the theme park April 22. Featuring Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar’s “Up,” guests will get a chance to see their favorite Senior Wilderness Explorer and his furry friend as they discover bird species from around the world.


First-Ever Pixar Fest Begins April 13, Bringing More Pixar Fun Than Ever Before throughout the Disneyland Resort – New Land of Pixar Pier Debuts Thrilling New Incredicoaster this Summer.

Disneyland Resort will open the highly anticipated Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park on June 23, 2018, powering up summer with more of the playful Pixar stories and characters that guests have come to know and love. Also debuting in June, a new float adds superhero fun to the electrifying “Paint the Night” parade, featuring characters from Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles.” The news was announced today by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek during his presentation at D23 Expo Japan at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Pixar Fest – Photo Credit:

This year, guests will experience the wit, humor and warmth of Pixar stories and characters in extraordinary new ways at the Disneyland Resort, beginning with the first-ever Pixar Fest, a limited-time celebration of friendship that begins April 13. The permanent, new land of Pixar Pier, opening June 23, offers guests their first chance to experience the new Incredicoaster, a thrilling adventure with everyone’s favorite Super family and theming inspired by the newest Disney•Pixar film, “Incredibles 2.”

At Pixar Pier, guests will explore four new imaginative neighborhoods, newly themed attractions, entertainment, encounters with Pixar pals, plus themed food and merchandise, all inspired by beloved Pixar stories.

The fan-favorite “Paint the Night” parade returns April 13 for Pixar Fest, this time at Disney California Adventure. And in June, the popular nighttime spectacular adds even more Pixar fun with the addition of a new, high-energy float inspired by “The Incredibles.” Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone will showcase their superhero awesomeness as they take on their newest threat, the Underminer. Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack also showcase their unique powers in surprising new ways, as shown through dynamic and innovative visual technology. Like the other elements in this spectacular parade, this new float will come to life through a series of dazzling LED lights, new music elements and high-tech, pop-art effects inspired by the mid-century-modern style of the films.

Photo Credit:

Pixar Pier Opens at Disney California Adventure Park June 23

The thrilling new Incredicoaster will anchor Pixar Pier in the new land’s first neighborhood, which is inspired by “The Incredibles.” New character moments, scenes, special effects and an exciting musical score will connect the attraction’s story to “Incredibles 2,” which opens in theaters June 15, 2018. A second neighborhood at Pixar Pier will be inspired by “Toy Story” around the popular Toy Story Mania! attraction. The third new neighborhood will be inspired by “Inside Out” and will feature an “Inside Out” attraction, scheduled to open at a later date. The fourth new neighborhood will celebrate a collection of Pixar stories. Mickey’s Fun Wheel will transform into a newly-themed Pixar attraction, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful sights of Pixar Pier from 24 new gondolas that will feature beloved Pixar pals. The midway games will also be inspired by Pixar characters, including favorites from “A Bug’s Life,” “La Luna” and “WALL·E”.

Additionally, what was formerly Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and the Cove Bar will be transformed into a Pixar-themed lounge, offering sparkling views of Paradise Bay and the new Pixar Pier.

First-Ever Pixar Fest Opens April 13 throughout the Disneyland Resort

Pixar Fest will allow guests to celebrate friendship and beyond during this limited-time event, bringing Pixar stories and characters to life like never before. At Disneyland, a new fireworks show, “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” will debut with dazzling pyrotechnics, memorable music and a heartwarming story.

“Pixar Play Parade” returns, this time making its way through Disneyland park. The popular parade will bring even more fan-favorite Pixar stories to guests with the addition of three new show elements, including the famous Pixar Lamp and Ball from the Pixar short film, “Luxo Jr.” as well as characters and elements from “Up” and “Inside Out.”

And appearing for the first time at Disney California Adventure, the “Paint the Night” parade will return to delight guests with the parade’s 1.5 million, brilliant LED lights and catchy tunes. In addition to the new Incredibles-themed float, “Paint the Night” parade will spotlight many Pixar stories and include characters from “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”

A new film festival, Pixar Shorts, will also take place throughout much of Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure. Pixar Shorts will feature rotating favorites including “For the Birds” and “LAVA” at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land.

And in the Paradise Gardens area at Disney California Adventure, many new Pixar experiences will be available for guests to enjoy including performances by a new Pixar-themed musical troupe, Pixar character encounters, and special crafts and activities for younger guests.

Pixar Fest will also feature additional elements throughout the resort including new décor, atmosphere entertainment, themed food and beverage and limited-edition event merchandise.

All of these exciting new additions for the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration and the opening of the new land of Pixar Pier will add to the existing Pixar attractions and entertainment currently available throughout the Resort, from Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

WDW Ticket Price Increase Today

As anticipated Walt Disney World has increased prices effective today. The tiered ticket pricing continues, with pricing varying by date and park. As usual Disneyland will follow with increases in the next day or two.

wdw ticket price increase 2018

At the gate, a one-day regular Magic Kingdom ticket will cost $119, a $4 increase. A value ticket will cost $109, a $2 increase, and a peak ticket will now cost $129, a $5 increase.

At the other three parks a one-day regular ticket is $114, a $7 increase. A value ticket will cost $102, a $3 increase, while a peak ticket is $122, a $3 increase.

All annual passes have also increased in price. For Florida residents, Platinum Pass is now $729, up from $679. A Gold Pass is now $589, up from $559, and for a Silver Pass, you’ll pay $439, up from $419. You can view the full details at

Parking costs have also increased to $22, a $2 raise and preferred parking climbs to $45, up from $40. Minnie Van service increases from $20 to $25.

Along with these increases, Disney has also announced plans to sell date-specific multi-day tickets, although details are not yet available. The idea behind date-specific tickets is to help spread crowds throughout the year.

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs – The Perfect Place to Stay!

Wyndham Disney Springs

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs is one of the seven Disney Springs Resort hotels and the closest of the seven to Disney Springs. It is less than a five minute walk across the street right into all that Disney Springs offers. I’ve stayed here several times and I’m always blown away by what a great resort it is. You feel as if you are on Disney property without paying Disney on-site prices. Because I visit Walt Disney World multiple times per year, being able to save some money without giving up quality, is always high on my list.

The Wyndham offers continuous transportation to all of the Walt Disney World theme parks that run every 30 minutes. The hotel offers a variety of food beverage options including a full service restaurant, room service, pool bar & grill, 24 Hour Cafe and lobby lounge. And . . . a Disney Character Breakfast on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings that is a fraction of the cost of any Disney character breakfast and just as good (the characters are official characters that come over to the resort from Disney!).

Beginning in January, 2018, the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels offer major perks to their guests. In addition to your extremely affordable stay at the Wyndham, you will now have access to many of the same benefits as Disney Resort on-site guests:

  • Extra Magic Hours
  • You can link your room reservation with your My Disney Experience account.
  • You can purchase park tickets in the hotel or online in advance of your stay and link them to your MDE account to book your FastPass+ selections at 60 days – the same time as Disney Resort on-site guests!
  • Book on-property golf tee times 90 days in advance with greens fees and rental equipment discounts.
  • Disney Springs Passport Coupons full of discounts.

Each of the guest rooms are spacious and clean and come equipped with plush bedding, high-speed wireless Internet access, 37-inch HDTV flat-screen TV, mini refrigerator and an in-room safe.

All of the employees at the Wyndham are friendly and go out of their way to help with anything you need. My all time favorite guy is Shelton in Bell Services. You will never find a happier and more eager to please employee anywhere. I always look forward to seeing him when I stay at this resort.

As an added bonus when you stay in one of the tower rooms there’s a good chance you will have a Disney view! You’ll be able to see the fireworks right from your room!

Overall, I highly recommend staying here if you want to feel like you are staying in Disney without paying Disney’s on-site higher prices. The resort is great, the prices are great, and you’ll get many of the same perks you get while staying at a Disney on-site resort.

I was provided a highly discounted stay for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.