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View Full Version : Kids clubs--why would kids not like them?


Lisa loves Pooh
09-05-2007, 07:31 PM
I see parents mentioning that their kids may not like the kids club?

Is this something to be concerned about?

At this point--my 7 year old would be happy if I let her go to the "church school" as we call the baby/toddler program at our church. She's just happy to play with toys.:rotfl2:

I guess I am just noticing these posts more as our cruise approaches. And though it is a surprise, they have seen the Travel channel program and the videos on-line to know that it is something they want to do...."someday":laughing: .

Is there a huge build up to these things or will they be fun?

(I'm sure she'll be fine either way--but just trying to understand what makes it not fun for a child.)

AmberDaClown
09-05-2007, 07:37 PM
Boredom, wanting to be with mom, wanting to be with dad, seeing the pool on board and wanting to LIVE in it, not comfortable in group settings, not comfortable in crowds, not comfortable being left "alone"...those are just a few of the reasons why I fear my DD might not want to go and/or stay.

ksc37
09-05-2007, 07:38 PM
My kids (boys, ages 4 & 6) liked the clubs in general, but they weren't thrilled with some of the programs. In particular, they didn't like the Junkanoo Jam & the Luau, because "they had too much dancing". Also, the Oceaneer's Club closes the slide (a big draw with my kids) quite frequently after they set sail, so this was a little disappointing for them.

Even with the minor complaints, my kids do want to go on another cruise (we haven't told them, but we did rebook while onboard :) )

millerpjm
09-05-2007, 08:04 PM
My kids (boys, ages 4 & 6) liked the clubs in general, but they weren't thrilled with some of the programs. In particular, they didn't like the Junkanoo Jam & the Luau, because "they had too much dancing". Also, the Oceaneer's Club closes the slide (a big draw with my kids) quite frequently after they set sail, so this was a little disappointing for them.

Even with the minor complaints, my kids do want to go on another cruise (we haven't told them, but we did rebook while onboard :) )

What slide do they close?

allshookup
09-05-2007, 08:51 PM
My kids both complain that there is not enough "free time". I guess one of the things DCL is known for is keeping the kids entertained so they always have activities planned. The problem is my kids just want to go in & play with the computers, games, etc. & they are usually told they can't do that. My DS does like going a lot more than my DD who is very shy. She is only happy when she meets someone her age to hang with. Now that she is a teen, I'm not sure how she'll be in the teen club next year. :confused:

tvguy
09-05-2007, 09:06 PM
My kids were 12 and 16 on our Disney cruise. They just found the activities on the regular Navigator more interesting than the ones on the Navigators for their age groups so they never went to the kids club. The previous year, when they were 11 and 15, it was the same story.
Now in June, on NCL my youngest, now 16, did go for an hour one night, but only because they had a music trivia contest, and that's of interest to her, but other than that, did did the "adult" on general activites on board.

yndygo
09-05-2007, 09:20 PM
I was worried about it before we sailed too... b/c so many people post that their kids don't like them. But I think it's just really about your child's personality... and what does or doesn't appeal to them.

Our DD loved it so much we still kid around about the time that we were 'going too slow' for her getting ready for Palo before dropping her off and she started literally hopping from foot to foot saying "letttttt's goooooo... I've got to get to my club now parents!!" :)

AmberDaClown
09-05-2007, 09:32 PM
We really hope for the alone time because you know it will be our chance to um "be alone". No phone calls, no distractions, hopefully no knock on the stateroom door. All the things that sort of kill the mood, KWIM?

aprilgail2
09-05-2007, 09:44 PM
My daughter liked it one cruise and hated it the other 2. She hated flounders, said it was to babyish. She liked the 4 year old program but when we went again when she was 5 and 6 she hated it both times. She said there was to much dancing which she does not like, they didn't get enough free time, they were always being told what they had to do, couldn't go off and do anything on their own. She preferred things like the frog race, golf, and things in the regular navigator, not the childrens one. She went down and made flubber last cruise but that was about the only thing she wanted to do there.

ksc37
09-05-2007, 10:04 PM
What slide do they close?

They close the big slide inside the Oceaneer's club.

MississippiMom
09-05-2007, 10:11 PM
I'm also amazed by the posts that I read about kids not liking the kids' club. I wonder if it is just more introverted children or children that don't spend much time with their parents and really want to be with them. ???? Really, I wish that the people that posted those type of comments would explain more about their situations and why their children were unhappy.

I can't speak for DCL, but we went on NCL earlier this year, and our (then) four and five year old girls could not get enough of the kids' club. We never forced the issue with them, though. We would look at the activities daily and discuss what they might be interested in doing and what they thought might be "too baby" and scheduled our day around the things they wanted to do. We always had breakfast, lunch and dinner together as a family, and got off the ship at the ports together. The girls attended cooking shows with us and bingo (great way to practice number recognition), but still had plenty of time to attend fun activities in the kids club. About every six weeks or so, one of them asks when we are going to go on a cruise again.

I must admit that in our case, they were in the same age bracket, so they had each other there all of the time, which probably helped with their comfort level at the kids' club.

lg3
09-05-2007, 10:13 PM
They close the big slide inside the Oceaneer's club.

Why would they need to close the slide when the ship sets sail? :confused3

tvguy
09-06-2007, 12:26 AM
I'm also amazed by the posts that I read about kids not liking the kids' club. I wonder if it is just more introverted children or children that don't spend much time with their parents and really want to be with them. ???? Really, I wish that the people that posted those type of comments would explain more about their situations and why their children were unhappy..

Well, in our case, we discovered cruises are a great chance for DW and I to spend time with DD and DS as their friends....not as mom and dad. DW and I did 5 cruises before kids, and have taken them on 3 cruises. Our kids discovered mom and dad were pretty cool people.
But they have always looked at the kids activities, and just plain always found the other non kids clubs activities more interesting.

Of course, my kids were teens on their first cruise. Now DD is a Junior in High School, and DS is a Junior in College. I literally see DD for an hour to an hour and a half a day during the school year, and DS is away at college, but does come home every weekend. So our vacations are planned as family vacations, for us to spend all our time together as a family.
So, watch out for the 4 of us at the family trivia contest on board our next cruise....we ARE one tough team!!

BibbidyBobbidyBoo
09-06-2007, 01:00 AM
My kids both complain that there is not enough "free time". I guess one of the things DCL is known for is keeping the kids entertained so they always have activities planned. The problem is my kids just want to go in & play with the computers, games, etc. & they are usually told they can't do that. My DS does like going a lot more than my DD who is very shy. She is only happy when she meets someone her age to hang with. Now that she is a teen, I'm not sure how she'll be in the teen club next year. :confused:

My kids complained about the same thing- the first "day" (not the first evening) they went to the lab. They just felt so disappointed that they could "see" the computers but couldn't play with them or have much free time. However, that didn't last long- once they "got over" the disappointment that they couldn't play the computers and have free time whenever they wanted- they got into the activities and had a great time.
The ONLY problem we had after the first day (which we also had "issues" with them signing out so we took that privilege away...) was that we had late dining and they ate with us every night. The reason this was a problem is apparently all the "fun" stuff seemed to be scheduled during late dining (not just my kids opinions, I also noticed the really fun stuff seemed to be planned during late dining- apparently they assumed all club and lab aged children would probably have early dining and thus be in the club/lab during late dining).

Late dining still works best for us- so on our next cruise we still have late dining BUT this time we're not going to force the kids to eat with us at dinner. They have already expressed a desire to just eat with the lab and then be IN the lab while we're having late dining (sometimes we may just have them eat dinner by the pool- yes, junkfood.. we're such horrible parents LOL and then go to the lab while we have late dining). This should solve the problem of them always missing out on the "fun stuff" during late dining (and/or eating as quickly as they can and then either DH or myself running them off to the lab- like we did last cruise running them off to the club/lab to try to "catch" as much of the fun as they could).

All kids are different. The reasons a child might prefer not to go to the club or lab have already been listed on this thread. My kids did want to swim a lot during the day- and ofcourse we went on excursions and such during the day at the ports of call- but evenings they would have much preferred to be in the club/lab than sitting down to eat dinner with us- and we're fine with not forcing the issue next cruise. They were disappointed to not have free time when they wanted- but they quickly got over that disappointment, because the club/lab have so much fun stuff to do.

CM_Mom
09-06-2007, 01:58 AM
The best idea I've seen on the boards was posted by Kcashner. Their family REQUIRES the kids to participate in at least ONE activity in the club/lab (at the same time) each day so the parents have an hour or two of grown up time. They review the Navigators with the kids and find out when the kids want to go and plan around that except for when the parents schedule Palo and the kids don't have a choice.

This sounds like a very reasonable plan to me. It's the parents vacation also and it sets the expectations for the kids. Unfortunately, some families are kid driven and the kids determine the whole agenda.

I doubt anyone's kids will be permanently warped if they spend a couple of hours a day being "bored" or participating in a "babyish" activity so the parents can enjoy a little time together but that's a decision each family has to make for themselves. My kids never had an option when we hired a sitter for an occasional evening out and I don't see a big difference on the cruise.

But I know some families with such busy schedules at home that spending lots of time with their kids is a real treat, so they're pretty much take it or leave it where the clubs are concerned. As I said, every family has to decide what works best for them.

Hey, last cruise we had a 25 yo DD sharing our room so we were kinda short on "alone time". We couldn't very well drop her off in the club! :rotfl:

CM_Mom
09-06-2007, 02:05 AM
The slide is part of the Pirate Ship in the club. That part's not open all the time. Only when they have a CM monitoring the kids using it to be sure it's being used safely. You don't let your kids use the slides at the park without you watching, same idea here.

I can understand where a kid that was planning to play on the pirate ship and slide down the slide would be disappointed if they were doing a different activity and it was closed.

Lisa loves Pooh
09-06-2007, 06:57 AM
Okay--that makes more sense!

What we had planned on doing is checking out the kids navigator's and having the girls pick what they want to do from that. (I'm assuming they will want to do lots.)

But I am a bit concerned as some of the posts here contradict other things I have read. Here some say there wasn't enough free time and the kids HAD to participate in the activity, but elsewhere it had been posted that if your child just wants to play then that is okay too. So which is it?

Also--is there "scheduled" "free play"--basically a time when an activity is NOT planned so if they want to just play and not miss anything, they can do that?

I hadn't planned on throwing my kids in the club at dawn and picking them up at midnight.;)

frdeb1999
09-06-2007, 07:24 AM
My 11 yr old absolutely loved the clubs. But my older daughters hated the teen club. Said it was mostly younger teens and that it was more fun hanging out by the pools and going to the activities listed in the navigator. My 11 yr old on the other hand had to literally be dragged out at the end of the night she loved it so much!

coastgirl
09-06-2007, 08:22 AM
;)
But I am a bit concerned as some of the posts here contradict other things I have read. Here some say there wasn't enough free time and the kids HAD to participate in the activity, but elsewhere it had been posted that if your child just wants to play then that is okay too. So which is it?

Also--is there "scheduled" "free play"--basically a time when an activity is NOT planned so if they want to just play and not miss anything, they can do that?


This is of concern to me, too. My son has sensory issues--for the most part he's fine (e.g., in school) but can get overwhelmed and needs a safe retreat from time to time. A book or computer game can help him calm himself. He rarely chooses to join, but often will once he's comfortable--so forcing him is not a good idea. I'm quite willing to talk to the staff and give them some strategies, if they have flexibility. (I'm not talking separate program or one-on-one needs, just things that will allow him to be there with other kids and have fun without melting down.) I wouldn't dream of leaving him there all day, we can take him out and tend to his "sensory diet", but I'd like him to be happy for a few hours at a time at least.

I'm a SAHM who has no babysitter backup right now, we moved this summer. I have LOTS of quality time with my kids. I need a break, and I was trusting Disney to be able to care for my kids a few hours a day and keep them happy. (Not willing to go with a lesser line or resort where the kids' programs are warehousing.) TMI, sorry, I do that. ;) But if everything is structured and everyone needs to join in, I need to know that before we make this decision. Thanks for any guidance or experience you can add.

Chipfan
09-06-2007, 10:15 AM
There is scheduled free time throughout the day for each age group. There are also structured free times and full blown programs throughout the day. In the Club htere is quiet moie time about 2 hours before close but the back room with the computers is open if the children don't want to watch the movie. The slide is usually only closed when there is a program going on so that the children aren't distracting the other kids during it and because as counselors we need to be on the floor during the program not sitting on the slide. That being said there are programs like the Farewell party where the slide may be opened as part of a game but thats not guaranteed. As far as forcing a child to participate rarely does it happen especially if we are aware that a child will not respond to it. The only time a child may be brought over to participate is when they are being disruptive to the rest of the group. If a child is playing quietly on the computers while the group is in the lab they are most likely not going to be pulled off the computers

Hope this helps

atinkerbellmom
09-06-2007, 10:24 AM
;)

This is of concern to me, too. My son has sensory issues--for the most part he's fine (e.g., in school) but can get overwhelmed and needs a safe retreat from time to time. A book or computer game can help him calm himself. He rarely chooses to join, but often will once he's comfortable--.


coastgirl- I think you posted on the ASD thread that I did. With your DS, the best thing to do is to stay away from the clubs on the first day. I would then look very close at the kids part of the navigator and plan with him the activity the next day that will be the most exciting to him. Pop into the club about 1/2hour prior to that activity and then let him join in at that activity. Just be careful not to show up during a "transition" time. They are listed on the navigator and it can seem a little over the edge from looking at it from an outside perspective, because the CM are in such attentive mode. Then let him join the activity he decided to go to. Kids with SID do really well with DCL because it is so organized. I have found that the unorganized "free play" that other cruiselines do is far more upseting to these kids, because they are not only trying to adjust their bodies, they are needing to "find an activity and hoping other kids do not interupt that plan until they get settled". They will alllow your DS to go away and regroup as they have quiet corners and they can go there. They do not call them that, but when you see the space, you will understand. My DS is a computer geek and got plenty of computer time. Trust me, he came back and would tell me how many minutes down to the second he was able to get his roller coaster park on set.

Go on-line to the DCL site and click on the age specific activities and read through those with him. Get him excited about specifics. I would stay away from posted navigators prior to the trip. See the navigators are subject to change. DCL will only give them to you the night prior after 7:30PM because they do change. I know this for a fact, because I have gone to GS and asked and explained my situation and they told me, "We really do not have them printed this early. We really need everything to be a for sure activity with the time in order to keep everything as smooth as possible." "If we start needing to cancel activities, this disturbs the plans of many guest and their families". So, just look at the ongoing activities from the site, not navigators. Sometimes the change can send SID kids a little off diet.

Both my kids loved :love: the programing and they are totally different with totally different needs. One intraverted, one seeking any person under the age of 12.

It has been our exsperience on all of our other cruises, that we find most of the kids standing at the door, begging parents to just stay for one more hour. My DH & I laughed at this the 1st cruise and found our kids doing it in the years to come. Now we are those parents.

Now, I am not recommending this works for everyone, but it works for us..... We leave prior to the cruise and know we are going to connect for all three meals. We also do the dress up thing and the shows almost each night together. We bring highliters and mark off everyone's "must dos". We plan a time just for me & DD and a time just for DS & DH. These times are based around a preferred activity. We also plan to choose an activity for DH & DK to do on their own and for me to do with DK alone. They know they are getting time with us and time with each parent and time for them to enjoy their vacation. Grant it, we do not plan the activities until we get to the ship and the nights prior, but they know they are coming. The alone time may be just taking in a movie together. Last cruise, DH went with the DK to see Cars, while I PACKED :sad2:. He also did "picture afternoon" with them, where they called the PALS number and decided which characters they would go see one afternoon. The downside to this was many of the pictures were in the same outfit.:upsidedow We give them the option of what they want to do at CC and usually one chooses one thing and the other chooses the other. (Just to show you how different they are). We also take in the ports of call together. So they get such a variety, they never have time to not like the clubs. DCL does such a WONDERFUL job with the kids.
I am not trying to say that any of you do this, but I have seen parents whom pagers go off and they turn them off and say things like "what ever, she will just have to wait an hour". We would always go right away to answer a page, because we truly want our kids to know we are only a page away. The first time DD was in the club, we told her that and she tested us twice to see if we would come and after those two "here is mom or dad", she trusted us and the pager never went off again.:thumbsup2

Lisa loves Pooh
09-06-2007, 10:47 AM
Thank you for the information. I don't have special needs kids, but was still concerned with the number of posts I have been reading. I do appreciate all the parents' insight into what did or did not work for their kids as well as CM perspective on how the scheduling works.

:)

Happy cruising everyone!

owensjro
09-06-2007, 11:54 AM
My daughter turned 5 the day after our cruise. She is tiny (she just hit 30 lbs at last!!) and is shy. She was very nervous about the club so we took her the first night. The CM's were fantastic. They showed her around and we watched while she played on the slide and looked around.

The next day we dropped her off for an activity...I don't remember which one offhand. I was more nervous than she was and I stayed in the entry watching her. One of the CMs immediately recognized her and called her by her name. She went in and had no trouble. When I came back she begged me to let her stay in longer!!

I did notice that later in the cruise during some of the planned activities she was not doing them. She would be playing somewhere else inside the club with a couple of other children. So it appeared that they would allow some free play even during planned activities. I do not know if this is during all activities or depends on the number of children, number of counselors, and type of activity going on.

All in all she loved it, we loved it, and felt that it helped her a lot to be in with other children. She even met another little girl her proclaimed to me one evening "Hannah is my new best friend". Now if only Hannah could remember her name..... ;)

Jim

kcashner
09-06-2007, 12:29 PM
After 15 cruises on the Magic, I think the secret to whether or not DD is happy in the programming is whether or not she makes a friend in the first day or two. Check the "Cruise Meets" section of this board. If you are comfortable, set up a "Kids cruise meet" for your cruise dates or post that you would like to hear from other cruisers in your child's age range (obviously this is appropriate for the older kids). If you are comfortable with the e-mail, pass it on to your child. The fact that they have "met" someone from their cruise can be a huge advantage. Frequently that kid doesn't end up being their "best buddy" on the cruise, but they do have someone to meet on the first day or two.

The kid programming is changed occasionally, so I don't feel comfortable commenting on the younger groups other than to say that DD LOVED the Club, felt the Lab was "lame," and totally Loves THe Stack. The neat thing is that the counsellors remember her...even though it may be a year since we've cruised! When we boarded last time, we heard a big "Hey (Her name) is back" and looked up to see Jerrica. I couldn't believe she could remember a name from a year ago.

jodifla
09-06-2007, 12:30 PM
My 2 year old loved Flounders. But at 4, he was not all that crazy about the kids clubs. It was too loud and zoolike for him. We got paged one night, one night we as having a pretty good time, one night he fell asleep, so that was OK, and then the other two he was definitely waiting for us to come get him.

My son has language and sensory issues, which I told the CMs. They did let him play on his own some on the computers.

coastgirl
09-06-2007, 02:17 PM
Just wanted to say THANKS to everyone who's responded. I think having clear expectations is key to making the most of something like this...thanks for being so generous with your time and experience.

sftnslky
09-06-2007, 02:25 PM
My kids both complain that there is not enough "free time". I guess one of the things DCL is known for is keeping the kids entertained so they always have activities planned. The problem is my kids just want to go in & play with the computers, games, etc. & they are usually told they can't do that.


:thumbsup2 This is EXACTLY why my girls did not go to the club except for 3 whole hours on our 7 day cruise last year...and they were 9 and 7 at the time. They said it felt more like school...:teacher: "Do this at this time, now clean up and get out your art supplies, now clean up and do this". The clubs were very nice, and the folks who worked there seemed very sweet, but besides the "school" feeling our girls have ALWAYS been very family :grouphug: oriented. They rarely enjoy going to sleep overs, they wanna be home with Mom and Dad.

Next summer we are not only taking our two girls, but will also be taking our twin boys who will be :scared1: 7, AND we are paying for a very close family friend to travel with us in the cabin next to us so he can 'baby sit' so Mom and Dad can have some alone time :hug:

Downrivermama
09-06-2007, 02:32 PM
To the OP, I think it depends on your child and you know them best. Don't let other people's experiences influence you. My dd has been twice at 7 & 8 and I had to pry her out of there! She spend one night in the club and they asked her when I picked her up the first night if she wanted to go into the lab. Her 8th birthday was in 2 months. Our last cruise was the same, she loved it.

When we go on vacation we play it by ear. I don't schedule, hey I'm on vacation and we just do our own thing.

Soccermom-Cheri
09-06-2007, 03:03 PM
My DD had the same "no free time" complaint. At 5, we couldn't get her to leave. At 6 she didn't always want to go. At 7, she wouldn't make one more flubber/picture frame/colored picture even if we bribed her. She was close enough to try the 8-9's so she did. They were more "action oriented". If you didn't want to play dodgeball, you had to sit on the sidelines and watch. That was your only choice. Needless to say. We were paged so much we gave up.

I know that the rooms are only so big and the counselors can't have too many activities going. However, with so many repeat cruisers and different interests (active and quiet), it might be nice to have a choice between 2 activities for each age group.

Making a buddy does make a difference - unless they don't like the club/lab either. Then you're watching 2 at the pool all day :rotfl:

My only advice is go in thinking "it's going to be great!" That vibe will transfer to the child. So, will any apprehension. Good luck.

crisi
09-06-2007, 03:33 PM
My kids enjoy them - but not necessarily to the extend of others.

My daughter at 4 would have lived in the kid's club - but after we got off the ship she began to understand that she missed stuff - she missed dress up night in the restaurant because she wanted to be in the club. She didn't go down the Mickey slide nearly as much as she wanted.

My son was always a "take it or leave it" kid.

The second cruise we were on with Grandma and Grandpa - the kids both spent much less time in the clubs at seven and eight - more because Grandma and the pool and the endless food on deck 9 were far more interesting than any club could be.

Some other possibilities - sometimes kids in the club are "mean" - especially as they get older the programs can get cliquish. The club in particular is sort of dark. I think a lot of the activities are targeted young - some of them are 'hokey.'

I think the biggest thing is that on vacation Mom and Dad are yours and you get a lot of one and one attention from them - even if you spend a lot of time with your kids at home, vacation time doesn't have laundry, tv, the vaccuum cleaner, grocery shopping - its endless Mom/Dad/Kid fun. For some kids that is just overriding.

I like kcashner's idea as well of "Mom and Dad get some time" if your kids don't like the clubs - some time in there won't kill them. And I like the plans of other posters who say "at least X nights, you will eat with us" or the other minimum requirements they have for family time for dealing with the other extreme of kids who won't leave.

StitchandPooh'sMom
09-06-2007, 08:08 PM
My DD4 liked the kids' club OK; my DD7 (at the time) didn't like it at all. They did an activity the first night (a luau or dance party?) and DD7 thought it was too babyish and paged for us to come get her. DD4 actually didn't want to leave, but she didn't want to stay without her sister.

DD7 and DD4 also did the cookie making together (DD4 was bumped up into the 5-7 group). DD7 said the other kids at the table were yelling at DD4 because she was too slow mixing the ingredients (each child had his/her own "job") and she wanted them to stop picking on her little sister. She had no interest in going after that. She actually go sick with norovirus soon after and DD4 was not allowed back in the clubs since her sister was sick, so it was not a great experience in the clubs for them.

They both enjoyed the first afternoon of "free play". Both girls (especially DD7) have had experience being away from Mom and Dad - I think they just didn't love the activities and preferred to do other things.

Stewy
09-06-2007, 09:59 PM
On the first cruise our DS 5 at the time did not like the club. He liked a couple of the activities but hated free time. The key for our DS, now 9, has been to get him involved with other kids through the cruise meets board. He makes some friends and cannot wait to meet and play with them onboard. We trade emails and pictures so they can recognize each other. We make sure he goes to the club the first night since that is the easiest time to make new friends.

Now he spends so much time in the clubs we start to feel guilty :rolleyes1 but not too guilty. :rotfl: We spend a lot of time together at home. We will let him stay in the club all day if we have nothing going on since it is his vacation too. He knows he can page us but we also go by the club and check on him to make sure he does not want to go do something with us. It's very sad when you are begging your kid to have dinner with you. :laughing:

We are going next October and he is already bugging to start chatting with the kids that will be on the cruise. Now we just need to cross our fingers that the 3 year old will like the club just a little bit. ;)

Cheryl

Andrew DEREK UK
09-08-2007, 02:04 AM
My kids do not like any other holiday kids club and often I am called to take them out, on the Magic they can now check themselves in/out and stay in them most of the day/evening, so they really like them.