The exclusive areas for kids onboard Disney Cruise ships are just one of the many features that make Disney Cruise Line unique. Ranging from infant care to teen clubs, there are unique spaces for all age groups. By far the most popular is the Oceaneer Club. The club is divided into several rooms with different themes and activities to appeal to kids in the 3 to 12 age range. Don’t worry, kids won’t have all the fun. Parents can enjoy some kid-free time to themselves knowing that the younger members of the family are well taken care of by Disney staff.
Oceaneer Club Basics
Located in the center of the ship, the club operates from 9am until midnight. Children ages 3 to 12 are welcome as long as they are toilet trained. On the first day, the club has an open house so parents can accompany their children into the clubs to get a feel for what they have to offer and let kids get comfortable in the space.
Safety First! At check in, parents and their children will have their pictures taken. You also will set up a secret word if you didn’t do it when you made your cruise reservations. Each child will be given a Magic Band secured with a clip so they cannot be removed. Parents, or a designated adult, will be given a phone in case they need to be contacted by Disney staff for any reason. Adults are only let into the Club during pick up time, and during busy times staff often bring the children to the desk. Plenty of Disney staff were always present to play with and keep an eye on kids in the club.
Really fun hand washing stations are located at the entrance where kids can dunk their hands in and let the machine sanitize them in swirling water. Bathrooms are also located within the club and have conveniences, such as lower sink heights and toilet seat inserts, to make things easier for younger kids. I noticed the whole area was kept neat and clean throughout the cruise.
Oceaneer Club Activities for Kids
The space is loosely divided into the Oceaneer Club for younger kids and Oceaneer Lab for older kids, but they can wander in between the two to participate in whichever activities they wish. There are several rooms in the kids club. Two large open spaces for group activities; one with an interactive dance/game floor. There is also a craft room, animator’s studio, and an interactive Pirates of the Caribbean station with several seats with ship wheels and screens. The themed rooms are even more exciting. Tinker Bell’s Pixie Hollow, Andy’s Room from Toy Story, and a Star Wars area where kids (and geeky adults like myself) can sit in a mock up of the Millennium Falcon.
In addition to the themed areas, there are special activities that take place throughout the day. Cookie baking, Jedi training, scavenger hunts and more. Some of the larger events are listed on the ship’s daily schedule, called the Navigator, so kids know ahead of time what will be offered. Disney characters also make appearances in the club as part of live story telling and activities or just to visit with the kids.
If your little ones will be staying in the Oceaneer Club for a while, kid-friendly lunch and dinner items are offered. This can come in handy if parents want to have dinner in one of the nicer restaurants or simply enjoy a relaxing kid-free meal.
Oceaneer Club and Special Needs
Due to the high volume of kids and activities, the Oceaneer Club does not provide dedicated assistance for special needs children. If your child is potty trained and comfortable with social interaction within the age range, then they may be fine in the kids club. As a guide, think about how your child would do at a playground with a babysitter watching. My daughter has difficulty with emotional regulation and anxiety. While familiar and happy at Disney World from numerous vacations, she had trouble adjusting to the Oceaneer Club and only spent a few hour-long visits during our cruise. Visiting during open house will help if you’re not sure how your child will handle the situation.
Disney Cruise Lines Oceaneer Club offers a wide range of fun activities while providing a safe place for parents to let their kids roam free. A fun mix of traditional activities and digital options are offered to appeal to all styles of play. If you, or your child, are unsure of heading to the club I encourage you to visit during an open house period to get acquainted. Another option for tweens is The Edge club, which is exclusive to ages 11 through 14.