Disney Cruise: Cabin Verandahs

Our first two Disney cruises were a learning experience in terms of cabin verandahs. Our first verandah, on the Disney Dream, was to get a taste of the Disney cruise experience. We wanted a verandah, but weren’t too sure what we were looking for. A great deal on a navigator’s verandah seemed like a good choice for us. It wasn’t.

We love to spend cruise time on the verandah. My husband and granddaughter get up every morning to watch the sun rise and the ship dock. Morning coffee, out on the verandah. A relaxing read in the evening, on the verandah.

Disney ships have three basic types of verandahs: Navigators, whitewall, and a standard verandah. The size and style of these verandahs will vary from ship to ship and and by stateroom; you’ll want to pay attention to this during the booking process if these things are important to you.

Navigator’s verandah (Category 7A) is small. It’s enclosed, adding to the feeling of small, with a large open porthole. While you can get a good view when standing, sitting leaves you staring at the verandah wall. If you spend a lot of time on your verandah, this one will likely disappoint.

Whitewall verandah (Category 6A). We chose this option for our next Disney cruise, a back-to-back Caribbean/Bahamian vacation on the Disney Wonder. We thought we’d enjoy this, but our granddaughter couldn’t see over the railing (blocked by the whitewall from the railing down) and so we didn’t get the experience we were hoping for.

Standard verandah (Categories 4 & 5). We’ll have this on our Panama Canal cruise in November and we’ve agreed that this is the verandah that meets our family’s preferences. It’s an open-air balcony fronted by a clear acrylic wall to the railing. Perfect for those morning sunrises and evening coffee breaks.

Additional variations to watch for:

  • A deluxe family verandah, in cabins that sleep 5, offers slightly more footage than a deluxe verandah.
  • Some verandahs are connecting, meaning that, if you’re traveling with (and beside!) family, you can open up your balconies to each other. If this is important to you, you’ll want to pay attention to this during the booking process.

More in this series:



Disney Cruise: Picking Your Perfect Cabin

cabin reviews_disney

Once you know when you’re going to book your Disney cruise, it’s time to drill down to the options that work best for you and your family. Beginning with the cabins.

Cabin categories and options are confusing, no question about it. There are so many variables:  budget, size of family, space needs, accessibility questions/concerns, motion sickness concerns, whether or not you want/need a verandah, proximity needs.

Inside room, porthole room, or do you need a verandah? Are you travelling with family and do you need connecting rooms?

Start your search for the perfect cabin by checking out the different options available to you. You can find a checklist of the different cabin categories here, beginning with the ultra-plush Concierge all the way to the more budget-conscious Inside.

A Disney Difference: unlike most cruise lines, Disney cabins (with the exception of accessible staterooms and category 8A’s on the Dream and Fantasy) have split bathrooms. One side of the split is a tub and sink, the other has a sink and toilet. 

How big is your traveling party? A Concierge-level suite (very pricey) can sleep 7 guests while all other categories sleep 3 or more.

Proximity needs. Do you need to be close to the nursery or kids’ area? Do you want to be close to the food? The swimming pool? Do you prefer one level over another? Does someone in your family suffer from motion sickness? You may want to select an outside cabin towards the middle of the ship.

Does your itinerary mean you want to be on one side of the ship or the other?  The ship backs up against the dock at Castaway Cay (facing toward the ocean), meaning the cabins on the left side will face the bay/tram locations and the cabins on the right side will face the beaches).

Use this helpful tool to see reviews on specific Disney cabins.



Disney Cruise: Best Time to Book

disney cruise app

It’s been a busy few months. So, it came as a surprise to me when I clicked on my Disney cruise app to discover we’d broken the 300 day mark. We are, in fact, at 296 days before our next Disney cruise to the Panama Canal aboard the Disney Wonder.


Like so much in life, planning the details of your Disney cruise adds tremendously to the overall enjoyment and value of your trip. Over these next months, I’ll share my tips and tricks with you.

The first question for most is: when is the best time to book a Disney cruise? Of the main popular cruiselines, Disney is definitely expensive. We’ve found the Disney line to be worth the extra cost, but that’s a decision for each individual family to make. There are ways to cut costs, and I’m going to help you figure those out.

We’ve cruised several other lines (Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean) and have found that there’s one major booking difference between Disney and these other lines.

For most cruiselines, prices rise and fall drastically from the time the itinerary goes live to just before the sail date. Many variables factor into this: popular rooms (sometimes you can get a balcony cabin for cheap because the inside rooms are booking up), how full the ship is (low bookings = sell offs to fill cabins), time of year (hurricane season and times when school is in are typically less popular), loyalty programs (how many times you’ve sailed with a particular cruiseline).

Disney’s different. Their ships nearly always sail full, so it’s much more difficult to get a “bargain”. They don’t need to cut prices to fill their cabins. Prices rarely – if ever! – drop as the cruise date nears. To get the best deal, book as close to the release dates as possible. Opening dates for booking depend on your status with the Disney Cruise Line (DCL). Platinum, Gold, Silver, and folks looking to book their first Disney cruise will all have different opening dates to book.

For example, we booked our Panama Canal 2019 cruise (14 nights) on our opening day (May 23/18). We had some additional perks (onboard credit, placeholder discount) that I’ll discuss in a future post, but basically our cruise would’ve cost a DCL first-timer $9,795 USD for two adults, one child in a 05C balcony. That very same room would have cost us another $814.88 USD more if we’d waited till September 2018 to book. And by, October 2018 there were no comparable cabins left.

Other potential savers: Resident offers (do you live close to the port?), Canadian offers (the Canadian dollar is ridiculously low and Disney sometimes runs offers to help make these cruises more affordable), and military discounts. There are also some loyalty discounts and breaks available

There’s lots of information above and it doesn’t address every scenario and variable. Again, I’ll delve into more detail in future posts.

More in this series:

More Harry Potter For Our Littlest Wizard

menta booties2Last week I showed you the crib sheets and car seat cover for our much anticipated Wizard-in-Waiting (due in February). I had some sizable scraps left over from these projects and looked around for some itty bitty ways to use them.

First stop, Menta Sewing Patterns for their Baby Menta Shoes, a pattern I’d purchased awhile back while on sale. I knew from watching the ideas roll out on their Facebook page that’d I’d find a lot of use for this pattern, so I purchased the Family Shoe Bundle with 19 sizes, from newborn to plus sized adult.

There are a lot of bells and whistles that can be added as part of this pattern:

  • Toe reinforcement option with instructions
  • Lace trim option with instructions
  • How to sew appliques
  • Bow Toe option
  • Padded soles instructions
  • For this pattern, soles are narrower than the booties as this pattern is designed to be done with light to medium weight fabrics.
  • Hidden Seams (Reversible) and Exposed Seam (quick method) option.
  • 3 Bonus appliqué templates!

For my first try of this pattern, I opted to do a basic slipper, no extra options. It was sew easy! The most difficult part was sewing such small slippers. I used a serger to finish all my seams and rounding those close corners was a bit of a challenge. I’m going to estimate this was a 15-minute sew.

This was a seriously useful scrap buster and when our Wizard-in-Waiting’s dad saw the finished result, he wanted a pair, too.

Sewing is a little like doing home renovations. You start off doing one thing and, before you know it, you’re doing all kinds of related things.

And so it was with this project. Next week I’ll show you some of my other Harry Potter scrap-busting ideas. Spoiler alert: the Wizard-in-Waiting ends up with a whole new outfit from several different designers.

BONUS TIP FOR DOLL LOVERS: These slippers in a newborn size were also a nice fit for 18″ dolls (American Girl Doll, Maplelea, Our Generation, Journey).

We’re just building inventory at the moment, but if you’d like to pop by our Etsy shop, you can find us here. 

Some Harry Potter for the New Wizard in Our Lives

Crib Sheets and Car Seat Cover

Christmas is over and it’s time to dig into the next big event of the year: we’ll be welcoming a new granddaughter sometime around February 15th. We’ve been waiting a long time for her, so there’s already been a fair bit of prep done.

Her nursery is decorated in circa Harry Potter. Mom and Dad are still knee-deep in painting, decorating, sorting, so pics later.

BUT. Grandma’s in full tilt HP mode.

After the Christmas sewing was finished, I dug into the requests for the new babe. I’ve been stocking up on Harry Potter prints, so I’ve plenty to choose from. For our new little wizard, I started with the basics. Crib sheets and a baby car seat cover.

I struggled a little with what fabric to use. Quilting cotton? Too rough for my baby granddaughter. Double gauze? Maybe, but what’re the chances of finding an HP print in double gauze? I finally settled on some lovely soft flannel.

For the crib sheets, you can’t beat the tutorial listed at Homedit. The step-by-step instructions are easy and the finished product, complete with french seams is super easy to make.

For the infant car seat cover, I used the Lullaby Line car seat pattern at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. The pattern includes two options, one with a zipper closure, another with a snap closure. I made the zipper option and loved it. This project took me about an hour to make, from cutting to finishing.

Zippers are not that difficult. I promise. Up on my to-do list is a zipper tutorial for this project. I’ll update here when it’s up on YouTube.

Snaps. I added three to the peekaboo cover on the front. I use Kam Snaps purchased from Quammie Homecrafts, located in my hometown of Calgary.  Some people don’t care for the Kam Snaps, but I find them to be a quick, easy solution for quick closures on baby items. I have the occasional breakage on installation, but it doesn’t happen often.

Christmas – Week 2


And part 2 of the Christmas pajama marathon. You can read about my pajamas-for-people pick (I love me some alliteration) here. I’m not done yet, but I’m ahead of schedule.

This week I’m working on a footed pajama pattern for dolls from Matilda’s Closet. I love, love, love Matilda’s Closet and own so many of their patterns. Patterns are available in both pdf and paper form. I chose the pdf version of the Footie Pajamas for 18″ doll pattern available here.

At this point, all of our dolls are the 18″ size: American Girl, Maplea, and Our Generation. Between me, my sister, and my granddaughters we have eight. So. Lot’s of pajama models.

It’s an unwritten rule that all family PJs must match. Or sort of match. This year, I chose fleece buffalo plaid for our Christmas pjs. We live in Alberta, Canada where the winters can be pretty harsh. Even so, the footed pajamas were too warm for some. Note to Self: use flannel next time.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not my first pattern from Matilda’s Closet. So, as expected, these footed pjs sewed up quickly and without problem. Footed pjs might just be my go-to pattern from now on for pajamas. There’s not many pattern pieces (for this pattern, only the front, back, foot tops, foot bottoms, collar and cuffs) and so both cutting and sewing are super quick and simple.

There’s a zipper which sometimes intimidates new sewists. In all honesty, I found that, after doing a few zippers, they are actually quite simple.

TIP: The cheapest place I’ve found zippers here in Canada is from Cleaners Supply, which also has a presence in the U.S. Fast, cheap shipping as well!

I used anti-pill fleece from Fabricland for the body and feet of the pajamas and rib knit from L’oiseau for the collar and cuffs. The pattern asks for fabric with lots of 4-way stretch, but I found this fleece worked fine, and it occurs to me that only the collar and cuffs need 4-way stretch.  SMH.

Free Pattern Friday! Fox Plush — Choly Knight

How cute is this? A must-make from CholyKnight.

Hello everybody! It’s crazy to think that after all these years I still haven’t done a fox plush! It’s such a classic animal, but I suppose I wanted to be sure I was giving you all something I hadn’t seen before and is also relatively easy ❤ After a good bit of testing and trials […]

via Free Pattern Friday! Fox Plush — Choly Knight