1. Character encounters: One thing we did not expect was that there were always long lines to see characters during their scheduled meet and greets. To get a photo with Captain Mickey, I got to the meet and greet 20 minutes early and waited to have a prime spot on line. I also found that the meet and greets for the second dinner seating were shorter than first dinner seatings. The best thing to do though was as soon as you get on the boat, sign up for any free character meet and greets. This is essentially a timed ticket for your little one to meet a group of characters at once. There are also wonderful photo opportunities all over Castaway Cay if you bring your own camera.
2. Pampering: I had heard about a day pass to the spa for $27 which is essentially entry into the steam shower/turkish bath like area. The day pass included a body scrub. I am personally a great fan of the turkish bath and was in need of a little pampering on the day I purchased the pass but I did note that the women’s locker room at the spa was free to access (it was also used by those using the workout equipment) and it had a shower and sauna. I realized that with a bit of my own aroma therapy scrub, I could have taken a hot steamy shower and sat in the spa and saved myself $30. I also noted that massages were much cheaper on days we were in port – even in the evening after we had set sail again.
3. Adult Dining: My husband and I did a date at Palo restaurant. I know that many Disney enthusiasts rave about the food at Palo but I honestly did not find it to be much different from the food served in the dining rooms. On some cruises the dining which costs extra buys you really unique food items. On Disney it just brings you the opportunity to eat without a child around. There are adult spaces (pool, outlook cafe) where you can have child free time and you can get a table for two in the dining room and enjoy a child free meal without paying $25/per person.
4. Trading Gifts with other Passengers: This seems to be something unique to Disney Cruises – exchanging gifts. Passengers meet up with others on their ship via facebook or other groups and then agree to pass out little gifts known as fish extender gifts. Outside each room is a little fish clip. People make or buy little pockets to hang on their fish and use them as a sort of mailbox to receive gifts. We received simple items like glow sticks to very elaborate gifts including stuffed animals and bottles of wine. We also participated in a candy exchange where everyone brought candy from their area of the world. It was delicious. There are also organized pin exchanges where people trade Disney trading pins.
5.Shows: There are wonderful shows and movies shown on the ship. Definitely take advantage and go see the shows. If you can not get to a show, you can watch it on the tv in your room. There are also a wide assortment of films being shown on your tv at any given time. One nice place to watch films is at the pool.