I can’t write about this topic with too much authority because as a parent, I’m not actually allowed in the Youth Club. Except during open houses, these areas are strictly for kids! The open house is also the only time you can take photos. But I’ve been told, and witnessed, how much my kids beg and plead and love coming to this area of the Disney Cruise ship. From the second we board, until midnight of every day, our kids want to spend every waking minute in the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs. They get to play one on one with Mickey Mouse, learn how to open portals with Dr. Strange, color, make crafts, play games, and there are even tons of Disney apps on free use iPads.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs
Oceaneer Lab & Club | 3 – 12 Years Old
It’s A Small World Nursery | 6 Months – 3 Years Old
Edge | 11 – 14 Years Old
Vibe | 14 – 17 Years Old
Disney Cruise Ships
Deck 4 or 5
Hours: 9a – 12a (sometimes 1a)
This post focuses on the Oceaneer Lab and Club, because that is the age my kids are currently at. Check back in four years, and we’ll have the twins offer a write up about how much they love transitioning to the Edge Club.
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs Rules & Procedures
As parents, our biggest concern is regarding how safe our kids are going to be away from us. The reality is, on all of our experiences aboard a Disney Cruise we have never had a worry when it comes to the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs. All of the kid zones are led and supervised by trained Disney Counselors. This is obvious from your first interaction with the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs and you’ll get to know these counselors well. By the end of the cruise, your kids will be hugging and crying having to leave their new friends.
The Oceaneer Lab & Club are only accessible with a specific magic band tailored to your child. When your child scans the band at the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs the computers pull up their picture, age, and name. Then the parent scans their Key to the World Card which is linked to your child’s magic band. Both have to be present and scanned (unless you give your child ‘out’ privileges – see next paragraph). Your child’s profile is also tied to a secret code that only you know, and which you’ll have to give to the counselor manning the entrance. After you are cleared to pick up your child, their magic band will also tell you where in the club they are so you can head straight to that room to find them and pick them up. Parents are only allowed to play for a few minutes – as we mentioned, this is a kid zone.
Alternatively, you can give your child ‘out’ privileges. Any child can check themselves into the Oceaneer Lab or Club, but the parent decides at the start of the cruise if you want them to be able to exit freely. If you give them ‘out’ privileges, they can leave whenever they want. If you don’t, the above applies.
If your child doesn’t have ‘out’ privileges, the club will notify you by text via the Navigator App or your stateroom wave phone, to let you know when they want to be picked up. If you are at port, or have a reservation at the Spa or at Palo or Remy, they will keep the child occupied until your reservation is over.
Once the children are checked in they can freely move between the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs Oceaneer Lab or Oceaneer Club. The two clubs are adjoined by a secret passageway tucked behind the main cruise walkways with large one way porthole windows. It’s quite covert. Except on the Disney Dream and Fantasy where the passageway is much larger and not quite covert at all. It is full of tables and dedicated to craft making.
These clubs also offer open house times where anyone on the ship can come and tour the area. During this time only the Lab or the Club will be open for secure programming. The children are shuffled to one side of the club, and a few remaining counselors supervise the open house. In particular, one counselor supervises the bathrooms. No parents or guests are allowed in the bathroom during the open house if a child is in there.
Disney has all the right procedures in place, and we always feel secure knowing where our children are in the Disney Cruise Kids Clubs. All persons entering the facilities must wash their hands. They provide sanitizing wipes, or ultra fancy wash basins that automatically start once the child puts their hands in, and stops when the wash is complete.
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs Oceaneer Lab & Club
The Oceaneer Lab & Club are both designed for ages 3 – 12. The differences between the two clubs are in the types of activities provided in each club. Whereas the Lab does cater more to older children, depending on maturity level and interests, children can enjoy either.
At the Oceaneer Club you’ll find Andy’s Playhouse. This is an oversized play structure featuring Slinky. There is a slide, blocks, legos, toys and more (though the slide is not featured on the Dream or Fantasy). In this club kids can do all sorts of crafts, characters will come for dance parties, reading and storytelling time, children can do a variety of art projects, watch movies and Disney Junior shows and they have an interactive floor.
The Oceaneer Lab offers more hands on type experiences. This is where you’ll find the Marvel Superhero Training Academy. During certain times of the day, including open houses, you can get outfitted in your own digital Iron Man suit and practice using special powers. There are super sloppy science experiments, cooking classes, pirate adventures and so much more!
At the end of the cruise – only on the Disney Magic and Wonder – these adorable little kids get to perform their own show on the famous Buena Vista stage! The counselors gather everyone on stage, with their newly fitted Friendship Rocks bright yellow t-shirts, and the kids have a giant dance party with Mickey Mouse and talk about how awesome friendship is. At the end, a collage of pictures is portrayed including all of the children aboard the ship displaying all the fun activities they participated in during the cruise.
Our kids were really disappointed that this activity wasn’t offered on the Disney Fantasy.
If your child is a little timid, participation is optional.
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs It’s A Small World Nursery
Children under six months aren’t allowed to cruise with Disney, and must have reached their first birthday for Transatlantic or Panama Canal sailings. For children under three, the It’s A Small World Nursery is available. The cost is $9 an hour for the first child, and $8 an hour for any subsequent children.
Advance reservations are required, slots are limited and hours vary. Services here can be utilized during port days and excursions, dinner reservations, or any need you have where you require a babysitter. Keep in mind that you must provide all supplies such as diapers, wipes, blankets, baby food and milk, extra clothing, etc.
Same as with all Disney Cruise Kids Clubs the counselors here are trained in infant CPR and taking care of children. There are a variety of toys and activities for young kids.
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs Edge
Once children have reached the age of 11 and graduated from the Oceaneer Lab & Club, they can begin to participate in events at the Edge. This club is specifically designed for tweens. Socialization is a major objective at the Edge Club as the kids watch movies, play video games, learn smoothie mixology, participate in cooking classing, go on treasure hunts, boogie down on the dance floor and sing karaoke!
Disney Cruise Kids Clubs Vibe
The exclusive club for teenagers can be found on Deck 11 at the Vibe. Teens in this age group, as well as the Edge, receive special clearance to these clubs when they check in and receive their Key to the World card. The Vibe even has a secret entrance which is obviously ultra cool, whether you are a teenager or not. This club offers a lot of the same features as the Edge, as well as scavenger hunts, improv, cooking classes, and multiple challenges in an array of subjects.
► For Kids: Disney isn’t ranked the #1 cruise for families without good reason. Everyone on a cruise is catered to with every single taste, interest and age group in mind. Kids will love cruising with Disney! We can speak to this preference personally!
If you think Disney cruises are just for kids, you’d be wrong. Though we can’t deny that we love the magic the mouse has to offer, we find an array of activities to participate in all day long. Not to mention, much like our trips to Walt Disney World, the food can’t be beat.
► Nap-Time Version: The Disney Cruise Kids Clubs are so fun your kids will be begging to go back again and again. Replete with activities, characters, experiments, games, movies, and more, every second is filled with the magic of Mickey Mouse.