Updated: Sep 9
When you think about sailing with Disney Cruise Line, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a ship full of young children with activities that only cater to that age group. Nothing could be further than the truth! The number of teenagers who sail with Disney Cruise Line is astounding because their parents know that the cruise line does an amazing job of catering to children of all ages!
I have had personal experience sailing on a Disney Cruise with my own children throughout their tween, teen and young adult years. I've seen firsthand how Disney is more than just a cruise line for young children. It's a cruise line designed for families, no matter the age of the guest!
Anyone with teenagers knows that this age group desires a sense of independence and the ability to choose whatever they want to do on vacation. Let’s face it… there’s nothing worse than having a child who constantly complains about having to participate in family activities, especially on vacation. (As parents, we have ALL been there!) Thankfully, Disney Cruise Line offers an environment where each individual family member can choose what they want to do either with or without their family.
Let’s say your teenager wants to sleep in on their vacation, but if they do, they’ll miss breakfast with the rest of the family. On a Disney Cruise, it’s no problem!
When your teenager wakes up later than the rest of the family, they can stop by the buffet for a late breakfast or early lunch.
They can even order room service - all of which are included in their cruise fare!
Maybe the rest of the family wants to hang out at the pool all day, but your teenager would much rather partake in other activities.
With the wide variety of activities suited for teenagers, your child will have plenty of choices that don't always include spending bonding time with the family.
Still not fully convinced? Check out the Top 7 Activities Teenagers Love on a Disney Cruise!
1. Teen Clubs with Organized Activities
I think we've established that teenagers don’t want to spend 24/7 with their parents. Sometimes, they need a break and would prefer to hang out with peers their own age.
To help facilitate this, Disney Cruise Line offers two types of clubs for this age group.
The first is Edge, a tween club for 11 to 14 year olds and the second is Vibe, a dedicated space for older teens who are 14 to 17 years of age.
Both clubs offer everything a teenager needs… lounge areas with big screen TVs, video games, a smoothie bar, tabletop games like foosball and air hockey and so much more. Plus, some teen clubs have an exclusive outdoor sundeck complete with a plunge pool and hot tub - no parents or young children allowed!
With an engaging staff supervising the tween and teen clubs, there are always organized activities happening throughout the day like trivia games, competitive sports, dance parties, talent shows, jewelry making, karaoke, etc.
The tween and teen clubs are open all day and teens can come and go as they please. Oftentimes, the tween and teen clubs stay open well past midnight, which is later than most of the adult lounges and bars onboard!
During many of my family's Disney Cruise vacations, my teens returned to our stateroom several hours after the adults had fallen fast asleep.
For those families who have a young adult who is too old for the teen clubs and too young for the adult lounges, Disney offers exclusive meet-ups for the 18 to 20-year-old age group, called the 1820 Society.
While there isn’t a dedicated space for these guests, Disney hosts several organized activities for young adults in different venues throughout the ship.
Oftentimes, these young adults quickly make friends at the 1820 Society events and then meet up later as a group to enjoy other cruise activities like silent DJ parties, Bingo and team trivia contests.
2. State-of-the-art Movie Theaters
All Disney ships have at least one indoor movie theater plus, a massive movie screen located on the pool deck, called Funnel Vision where movies are shown both throughout the day and late into the night.
As you would imagine, these theaters only play Disney movies, but that extensive library includes Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and other live-action movies that teens enjoy.
One of the best perks on a Disney Cruise is the ability to see a newly released movie while on the ship!
If a new Disney movie (including Marvel and any other Disney franchise) is released on a day you are sailing on a Disney Cruise, Disney will premier that movie in their signature theater free of charge! There's no waiting to return home so you can watch the newly released movie at your local cinema.
3. Pools and Water Activities
Like many cruises, Disney has no shortage of pools and thrilling water activities.
From drop slides to water coasters, your teenager will enjoy all the thrills that await them on the Disney pool decks.
Plus, it's not unusual to see groups of teenagers hanging out by the pool or in the hot tubs with their new friends from the teen clubs.
4. Sports Activities
For active teenagers, there are plenty of sports-related activities to partake in including basketball, mini-golf, shuffleboard, ping pong, dodge-ball and other competitive games.
Many ships also have an outdoor running track on the upper deck.
On the Disney Wish, there is even an inflatable obstacle course available in their indoor sports arena, the Hero Zone.
5. Spectacular Entertainment
Disney is known for their world-class entertainment and the production of their headlining theater shows are Broadway-caliber.
Many restaurants also offer dinner shows that keep guests entertained throughout their meal.
Other nightly shows include comedians, jugglers and other family-friendly performances.
Plus, Disney is the only cruise line that features fireworks at sea during their sailings to the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands!
6. All-you-care-to-eat Dining
We all know that teenagers can be expensive to feed - particularly teenage boys.
Thankfully, your cruise fare includes all-you-care-to-eat where guests can select multiple courses from the dining room menus.
The buffet and pool deck eateries offer a variety of cuisines where even the pickiest of eaters can find something to eat. Don't forget about Disney Cruise Line's complimentary room service too.
Soft-serve ice cream is always available throughout the day and you can even have a Mickey ice cream bar delivered to your stateroom!
Plus, Disney is one of the only cruise lines that offer complimentary soft drinks with soda fountains located throughout the pool deck and in the teen/tween clubs.
7. Daily Onboard Activities
Teenagers will always find onboard activities to enjoy either with their family members or with their new friends that they met in the tween/teen clubs.
From game shows, scavenger hunts, character drawing lessons, trivia contests, and karaoke to deck parties, there is no shortage of daily activities on a Disney Cruise.
Let's not forget that the ship also stops at different ports during the cruise!
There's plenty more to see and do at these ports of call such as snorkeling, sightseeing, water sports, sea life encounters, shopping and much, much more.
With so many activities geared toward teenagers, your teen will never be bored on a Disney Cruise! It’s one of the reasons why my family and I continue to sail with Disney Cruise Line.
So the next time someone tells you that Disney Cruise Line is just for little kids, send them this list!
You can also read about all the activities teens love to experience at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas: Disney's Castaway Cay: Top Activities for each Family Member.
Lissa Ryan is a Senior Travel Advisor with Kingdom Destinations specializing in luxurious family vacations. Lissa helps busy parents who want to create travel memories with their families through luxury travel experiences, but are too busy or overwhelmed with all the effort and research that is required to plan that perfect vacation.