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View Poll Results: Do you think someone should start a Disney moms sitting club for children under 3?
YES 4 20.00%
Only if moms submit certain info in advance 2 10.00%
NO, I don't trust other people with my child 14 70.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:20 PM   #1
jessicabohn
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Question Nursery Questions Need Answers

For all of you Disney cruise moms, this is a question for you:

The short version: Are there any secrets to getting more nursery hours once onboard (besides showing up at the nursery and waitlisting for them)?

We booked a Christmas Disney cruise, after some reluctance about taking our infant. (The Magic Eastern Caribbean December 19) However, I spoke with two different agents on the phone before making a decision and they said there are always leftover hours in the nursery and you'd probably be able to get as many as you want once onboard (after booking the min in advance). I reminded them it's a holiday cruise and they simply reassured me that no one has ever complained about not getting nursery hours. So we did it. I booked the nursery hours in advance and within two weeks when I thought I would switch some of my hours, every single hour was booked solid. At least I have the 18 hours I do, since it is a 7 night cruise. However, I wanted to be able to do a couple of day time excursions and a few night time adult dinners or adult spa things. 18 hours simply won't be enough. I am concerned with all nursery hours being booked now, that there's no way I will get more once onboard.

Do they have any staff that will do in-room sitting on the side? I am trying to think outside the box.

Maybe Disney moms should start a forum where the cruisers start their own 'group care' by rotating rooms. In other words, I will watch your kids and my kids this night while you watch mine the next. Well, but you'd have to trust the person... I am just brainstorming here.

This answer will take a pretty experienced disney cruiser since I have already researched all their info officially posted on their site. Thank you greatly for any help!!
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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We had NO problem at all getting extra hours once onboard. None at all.
Most cruises sail full (ours did) so there aren't more people onboard during the holidays than any other time. Especially the under 3 crowd, that population isn't really affected by time of year (not in the way school age children might be onboard more during school breaks). Keep in mind that just like Palo, not all Nursery slots are available prior to the cruise. There is much more availability that you can get once onboard.

There is no staff provided in-room babysitting on DCL, since there isn't a need for it, really.

If you have Palo and Spa reservations, they *will* accommodate you at Flounder's Reef. We had the same fears and they asked us when our reservations were and we were fitted in. Same with excursions (if you go through Disney). If you do your own excursions then I would make those booking slots your priority (i.e. part of your 20 hour allotment).

Things to keep in mind are that since you are on the Magic and you mentioned excursions that FR on the Magic does close for several hours each afternoon (1 PM to 5 PMish- that also may be why you see no availability, they just aren't open then). They provide a list of compatibly timed DCL excursions that you can take, usually short morning excursions but it does depend on the port.

Obviously a great place to look if you want to meet other people on your cruise (if you haven't already) would be your cruise meet thread in the Meets forum. I have made many good friends on prior cruises that I would totally trust watching my children NOW... although I don't know if I would feel comfortable planning on doing such a thing *before* meeting them on the cruise.

Also, here is the information provided by Flonder's Reef on my cruise, (it has the operating hours on it so you can see what I mean about the afternoons

Hope this helps, have a great cruise!!!



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Old 11-01-2009, 02:40 PM   #3
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They do not put all of the available hours online in advance, just a percentage. They want to make sure that all guests who wants nursery hours get to book their first 20 hours (or whatever the number is, according to length of cruise) before they let other guests book more. Some people do not even book in advance, they wait until the first day on the ship. After that evening, Flounders will allow you to add more hours as needed. I think there were 4 cruises that I used Flounders for one of my two kids, and I was always able to add more hours and get just what I needed. And I agree with nenner1, if you have spa or Palo ressies and Flounders is open during that time, they will make it work. Disney wants your $$ so will do everything to make sure you are able to spend some in the spa, Palo, excursions...whatever!

I do wish they had better hours in Flounders, that afternoon break where they are closed is just the time I wanted my toddlers to be in the nursery. Naptime for them, spa or pooltime for me.

I wouldn't worry about it, it will all work out. I think now that we are able to book so many things in advance online, it makes us stress out more and worry that we didn't get what we need/want. I remember when DH and I would get on the ship the first day of the cruise and split up, so one of us could go book spa stuff and one could book Palo...before you could do it online. And same with Flounders, you just had to book it when you got there.
But even with that old school system, we always seemed to get what we wanted.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure you'll be able to add hours once your board the Magic. Just ask them.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:54 PM   #5
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Sorry to hijack on the thread here, but just wondering about something. Does Flounders close on the Wonder in the afternoon also?
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:20 PM   #6
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thanks, brings up good question

Thanks Nenner 1 and KensJen. Your replies were helpful. However, I am now curious about something... you mention that FR is closed every afternoon and have the schedule to prove it. However, when I booked advance hours online it let me choose those hours like 1 - 5pm on castaway cay day... it said all hours were open when i booked. That must be a glitch... I hope I don't get "sorry the system let you sign up for those hours... we're closed and everything else is full". OK.. I know I am being paranoid, ... thanks so much for the reassurance.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:39 PM   #7
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I think there were some recent changes to the Flounder Reef schedule and plan. I'd heard they were letting you reserve more hours in advance, and the nursery was staying open longer. When we cruised in Dec 2008 there were some gaps in the FR schedule, but they won't let you book hours that they aren't open.

As to the poll at the beginning, one comment on the options. I voted "No", but it's not because I don't trust others to care for my kids. It's more that I don't want to deal with the insurance and liability issues that could ensue should something go wrong. Plus, many folks go on cruises to relax and get away from things, and the pressure of watching someone else's kids isn't how I generally want to spend my cruises.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:41 PM   #8
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Wow, I am surprised by the number of people that said that they don't trust their children with other people.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessicabohn View Post
Thanks Nenner 1 and KensJen. Your replies were helpful. However, I am now curious about something... you mention that FR is closed every afternoon and have the schedule to prove it. However, when I booked advance hours online it let me choose those hours like 1 - 5pm on castaway cay day... it said all hours were open when i booked. That must be a glitch... I hope I don't get "sorry the system let you sign up for those hours... we're closed and everything else is full". OK.. I know I am being paranoid, ... thanks so much for the reassurance.
Oh, not necessarily, it was closed afternoons when I was on my cruise. Doesn't mean it will be closed on yours. I have read on other Nursery threads in the past year where others have said they also encountered the closures. So I just wanted to let you know of the possibility of it since it was something that we did not know before hand and we did our own excursions which made one day very difficult timewise- we had *just* enough time to get back to the nursery and pick her up, it was very tight. I honestly can't remember if when I did the online scheduling if the hours corresponded with what the actual operating hours ended up being. And the schedule is subject to change at any time during the cruise too, so no you can't really depend on it. I just wanted to relay our experience to give you a heads up and an idea of a possibility you might need to be aware of depending on your situation.

FWIW, we loved FR nursery. Our daughter was 4 months old and she received excellent care. The staff was wonderful and like I mentioned they were extremely accomodating as far as scheduling our extra time. We went in with our full 20 hours booked and ended up adding about 5 or 6 more after the fact, a Palo dinner ressie which they "squeezed" us in for and a Castaway Cay morning. No problems getting those slots onboard (we did go right away the first evening as soon as they opened for family time)

Have fun onboard!!
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:13 PM   #10
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As above, there is little trouble booking extra hours a day or two after boarding. Generally they will not allow extra booking on embarkation day in order to allow everyone to have a chance to make reservations. After that, it's generally possible to add time, sometimes even on short notice.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:49 AM   #11
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Jessica,
On the Castaway Cay day the hours a bit different, and if they allowed you to book certain hours, I am sure they are fine. There are still gaps in the schedule at Flounders, it isn't just open all day from the morning to after midnight like the club and lab, but there should be plenty of opportunity for you to get the hours you need.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:43 PM   #12
jessicabohn
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thanks fellow disney folks

Thank you to all who responded. It helps to have feedback from others. We have been on a cruise before but not with Disney (although we've done the parks and resorts quite a bit). And also we have never taken an infant... she will be 6months. I can't wait. It is interesting to see how people respond with the poll, and people bring up valid points. The ideal situation is of course you would already know another family onboard, but not everyone's family can afford to go... so we usually don't know anyone onboard. Thanks again.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:28 PM   #13
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This thread has been so helpful! We're cruising on the Magic for the first time with our baby who will be 10 months old at the time of the cruise. I've been quite nervous about cruising with her and worried about what Flounders would be like and if we'd be able to do any excursions or enjoy the spa. It's nice to hear that some adult time will still be possible!

One thing that confuses me is that on the flyer, it says that no outside food is permitted and that they won't feed the babies. However, it also says to bring milk/formula and bottles/sippy cups. I hope that they'd feed the babies, but I'm a little confused about this.

Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:52 AM   #14
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We were on the New Years Eve cruise on the Magic this past year - so obviously a peak season cruise if not the busiest cruise all year of the 7 day itineraries. We had NO problems getting all the hours we wanted for our Son. Many times we would just walk up to see if they had any openings at that time and not once were we turned away.

I, like you, had the same fears in terms of only being able to book xx hours before our trip. During our cruise, they didn't let you book any additional hours until after the 1st day on the ship (so as to let folks who didn't book online a chance to request hours) but we still had ZERO issues.
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