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Old 02-13-2010, 09:44 AM   #61
mb1976
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I posted this in another thread but, here is an article about how Disney is changing the kids programs.

http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1064
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #62
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Our experiences..


We've had very good experiences in the kids areas, BUT our youngest was 7 on our first cruise. I would be checking on a 3 or 4 year old often if I was dropping a little one off that age. At 3 and 4, they are just "little people" that can't say or do much against an older child trying to be rough with them. I don't know if I like that age being together with up to 7 year olds...too many opportunities to be mean to or impatient with the little ones......
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:30 PM   #63
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It saddens me greatly to read some of these stories.

My children loved the club and the lab, all three of our Disney Wonder cruises. A couple of counselers even remembered them from previous cruises, and they were truly delightful.

Yes, at times the room was chaotic, but so is my own house, and I only have four kids compared to the many in the club during slide time .

My daughter was 3 and newly fully potty trained our first cruise...she loved every second of it, and would tell me to leave. At first I felt guilty, but she clearly wanted to be there, so at times I would stay with her, or check in often. My twins, first age 9 when first at the lab, made best friends instantly and wanted to live in the lab, we had to drag them out.

On our cruise last July, it was just my littlest with my sister and me...and we had the same experience. The only time she cried was when they practiced for the last day graduation show and she didn't want to participate. I came in as a cast membr was hugging her and showing her some things she could play with instead.

In December, my whole family of 6 went...again, the three younger ones loved the clubs. And when my 4 year old wasn't feeling well, poor baby, they paged us. She was being comforted (away from the other children).

I'm sad for the children that didn't have such wonderful experiences. While my children are all outgoing, secure and adventurous, not all children are, and the cast members should be able to engage all types of children.

I will say, though...just because we choose to utilize what we consider a valuable piece of Disney cruising...the children's clubs...does not mean we want to dump our kids and have our own vacation, nor do I think that the reason you see bully children is because their parents dump them. That may be the case sometimes, but generalizing is never good...we choose to cruise because I believe it is the perfect balance of family and alone time. If I had experienced what some others on here had, I may have felt the same...but speaking for myself, I choose to take advantage of the childcare because my children truly LOVE it, not because I am dumping them, not caring who is watching them.

Last edited by Dicecatt; 02-14-2010 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 02-18-2010, 01:40 PM   #64
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My children had a great experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dicecatt View Post
It saddens me greatly to read some of these stories.

My children loved the club and the lab, all three of our Disney Wonder cruises. A couple of counselers even remembered them from previous cruises, and they were truly delightful.

Yes, at times the room was chaotic, but so is my own house, and I only have four kids compared to the many in the club during slide time .

My daughter was 3 and newly fully potty trained our first cruise...she loved every second of it, and would tell me to leave. At first I felt guilty, but she clearly wanted to be there, so at times I would stay with her, or check in often. My twins, first age 9 when first at the lab, made best friends instantly and wanted to live in the lab, we had to drag them out.

On our cruise last July, it was just my littlest with my sister and me...and we had the same experience. The only time she cried was when they practiced for the last day graduation show and she didn't want to participate. I came in as a cast membr was hugging her and showing her some things she could play with instead.

In December, my whole family of 6 went...again, the three younger ones loved the clubs. And when my 4 year old wasn't feeling well, poor baby, they paged us. She was being comforted (away from the other children).

I'm sad for the children that didn't have such wonderful experiences. While my children are all outgoing, secure and adventurous, not all children are, and the cast members should be able to engage all types of children.

I will say, though...just because we choose to utilize what we consider a valuable piece of Disney cruising...the children's clubs...does not mean we want to dump our kids and have our own vacation, nor do I think that the reason you see bully children is because their parents dump them. That may be the case sometimes, but generalizing is never good...we choose to cruise because I believe it is the perfect balance of family and alone time. If I had experienced what some others on here had, I may have felt the same...but speaking for myself, I choose to take advantage of the childcare because my children truly LOVE it, not because I am dumping them, not caring who is watching them.
My children had a great time, too. My DD8, two years ago, woke up everyday and wanted to go to the Oceaneer's everyday. We barely saw her. Our DD4 totally loved it. It was magical for her. It is important to communicate and introduce yourself to all the counselors. Ask many questions even meet the Manager of the all the clubs. That way, they know that you are serious. Stay with your children until you know that they are comfortable. My DD4 has severe food allergies and she had to keep an epi-pen, jr. handy which she knows how to use. That was our only challenge. Everyday, introduce yourself to all the counselors and know them by name. It takes time, but it is important to know all the staff. Also talk with your children and tell them to page you if they are not happy. Hopefully, that DCL will take care of the parent's original issue with the Oceaneer's. I would keep writing letters until you do get an appropriate response. They do listen and they are a big company. Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:53 PM   #65
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I totally understand and agree with the original poster regarding the children's program and I haven't even cruised with Disney yet. My concern (and I have had this concern from the day I started researching Disney cruises) is the counselor:child ratio. I think it is insane for Disney to have one counselor for every 15 three to four year olds and one counselor to every 25 five year old and up. That is crazy. Not even the summer camps in my area allow that kind of set up and they have the same group of kids for eight weeks straight for eight hours a day. How can the CMs even begin to know and care for a child and determine their idiosyncracies when the children in their charge changes every 3, 4, or 7 days depending on the length of the cruise? Let's face it some of us can hardly keep a handle on our own kids and we know them for years. How on earth can a stranger handle 15 or 25 kids they know nothing about? And I am certain that many of those CMs are probably childless and/or are practically children themselves (meaning fresh out of high school).

I am also concerned about this new policy of grouping kids by interest regardless of age. There is no way I am going to place my 3 year old in a group to be run over and bullied by older kids. Who is going to be able to fend for him when the counselor has 14 other kids to look after? Chances are the counselor won't even see the offender or the offense.

I just pray that nothing serious ever happens to any of the children in Disney's care. It disturbs me greatly when someone mentions that their child was crying in the bathroom for a seemingly long time. It disturbs me when a child is missing for a short time because a CM let the child out. It disturbs me when a child is left to find his way to the Oceaneer Lab unassisted and their parent is not informed to pick up their child. It disturbs me when a counselor instructs the children in her charge to go on a scavenger hunt around the ship and meet back at a certain time and half of those kids can't even tell time (I witnessed that one myself on a different cruise line). All of these things disturb me alot.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:31 AM   #66
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Question Not our experience at all

I, too, am very saddened and surprised to read the negative stories. My DD loved the OC and is looking forward to this year's cruise mainly for that reason. She has already said that she doesn't want to spend any time with us this year (she didn't spend much time with us last year's cruise). While I'm delighted she loves it so much, I did hope that I would spend at least some time with her. Our DS only spent time with us on Castaway Cay last year, but during the time with us, he stayed in the water chatting up a girl he met, so he wasn't really with us, either.

I found the counselors to be fabulous and was very pleased with them!!!
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:00 AM   #67
walloon
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Our experience...

Just had to jump in here with our experiences. First of all I have a DS 7 and DS 10. I am also a teacher, have taught pre-k up to 8th grade.

We took a three day cruise last year, it was our first, my kids loved loved loved the club and the lab. We couldn't get them out.

We are just back from our 2nd cruise, a 7, ooops meant 6 day trip on the Magic, with the new format. We told our boys about the change before we left, because this meant they could be together this year. (this could be a good or bad thing depending on the day)
They were very excited about this. Well, it didn't turn out quite as planned. The lab was PACKED, and it was with many many young children. My kids would spend about 45 minutes there tops and then would page us. It wasn't for my 10 year old anymore, he felt very displaced having to hang in the lab with 5 year olds, and he wasn't allowed to go to Ocean Quest, too young.


Also some other things I noticed:
The staff seemed very overwhelmed, not near as friendly and fun with the kids as last years cruise. I think they just didn't know what to do with all the kids of various ages, and it was hard to play games with the older kids etc with the younger ones coming over and interrupting etc.

Also, they were not doing the activities there were on the navigator, some events I could coax my kids into going to such as capture the flag, or mario kart tournament, they would show up and then never do the event. We would pick them up and ask "how did your game go?" and they would say oh we didn't get to play or do it because of xyz. This disappointed both them and me.

So, in short, we weren't really impressed with the kids clubs this trip.

Last edited by walloon; 02-22-2010 at 09:22 AM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:10 AM   #68
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That's too bad as we are headed out in April on the Transatlantic and my dd7 (almost 8--in May) was really glad to hear about the changes. This means she won't have to choose between the Lab and the Club. For her, this will be great since she is right on the cusp between the two age ranges. For my dd5 (just turned 5), I was also pleased since she is still in preschool and I suspect she will gravitate toward the activities for 4 year olds since they seem to be more preschool focused (as opposed to the 5-7 year old stuff that was more K/1 focused).

Well...they say the Transatlantic Cruises have a very limited # of kids (like 300 total)....so maybe the CM's won't feel so overwhelmed.



Quote:
Originally Posted by walloon View Post
Just had to jump in here with our experiences. First of all I have a DS 7 and DS 10. I am also a teacher, have taught pre-k up to 8th grade.

We took a three day cruise last year, it was our first, my kids loved loved loved the club and the lab. We couldn't get them out.

We are just back from our 2nd cruise, a 7, ooops meant 6 day trip on the Magic, with the new format. We told our boys about the change before we left, because this meant they could be together this year. (this could be a good or bad thing depending on the day)
They were very excited about this. Well, it didn't turn out quite as planned. The lab was PACKED, and it was with many many young children. My kids would spend about 45 minutes there tops and then would page us. It wasn't for my 10 year old anymore, he felt very displaced having to hang in the lab with 5 year olds, and he wasn't allowed to go to Ocean Quest, too young.


Also some other things I noticed:
The staff seemed very overwhelmed, not near as friendly and fun with the kids as last years cruise. I think they just didn't know what to do with all the kids of various ages, and it was hard to play games with the older kids etc with the younger ones coming over and interrupting etc.

Also, they were not doing the activities there were on the navigator, some events I could coax my kids into going to such as capture the flag, or mario kart tournament, they would show up and then never do the event. We would pick them up and ask "how did your game go?" and they would say oh we didn't get to play or do it because of xyz. This disappointed both them and me.

So, in short, we were really impressed with the kids clubs this trip.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:50 AM   #69
jimmyc17
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We are happy about the new rules in one regard. Our 7 year old is only three months away from her eighth birthday and she can now spend time with her 10 year old sister.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:06 AM   #70
clay's crew
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Same cruise/same opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by walloon View Post
Just had to jump in here with our experiences. First of all I have a DS 7 and DS 10. I am also a teacher, have taught pre-k up to 8th grade.

We took a three day cruise last year, it was our first, my kids loved loved loved the club and the lab. We couldn't get them out.

We are just back from our 2nd cruise, a 7, ooops meant 6 day trip on the Magic, with the new format. We told our boys about the change before we left, because this meant they could be together this year. (this could be a good or bad thing depending on the day)
They were very excited about this. Well, it didn't turn out quite as planned. The lab was PACKED, and it was with many many young children. My kids would spend about 45 minutes there tops and then would page us. It wasn't for my 10 year old anymore, he felt very displaced having to hang in the lab with 5 year olds, and he wasn't allowed to go to Ocean Quest, too young.


Also some other things I noticed:
The staff seemed very overwhelmed, not near as friendly and fun with the kids as last years cruise. I think they just didn't know what to do with all the kids of various ages, and it was hard to play games with the older kids etc with the younger ones coming over and interrupting etc.

Also, they were not doing the activities there were on the navigator, some events I could coax my kids into going to such as capture the flag, or mario kart tournament, they would show up and then never do the event. We would pick them up and ask "how did your game go?" and they would say oh we didn't get to play or do it because of xyz. This disappointed both them and me.

So, in short, we weren't really impressed with the kids clubs this trip.
I agree with Walloon's assessment of the club. It was pretty chaotic most of the time, and the counselors were overwhelmed. I have a three-year old, and we limited his time there because it was such a free-for-all.
One thing I'd suggest for checking out little ones: Write your password down on a piece of paper to show the counselor. You have to virtually shout your word over the noise, which totally defeats the purpose. You might also insist they check KTTW cards before releasing your child. The counselors "knew" us because we stayed with our son in the club a lot of the time, or at least checked on him every half hour or so, but with all the people checking in or out, I can see how a little one could slip through. Shudder...
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:09 PM   #71
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A different experience

I just read parts of this thread and would say that our experience two weeks ago in the lab was a positive one. We allowed our children (DD 8 and DS 10) to self check themselves in and out of the club. The only complaint I had was that the times we stopped to pick the kids up it took too long. There were a lot of kids in the lab so I can understand if a child needed some one on one it would be hard for the staff to meet those needs. If I had a bad experience I would certainly want to inform DCL so they can take corrective action.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:55 PM   #72
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Kids club

I have a 3 year old and I will feel quilty leaving her. She is outgoing once she gets to know you but, I hope she will have fun on our cruise. The kids programming seems fun, but it is the councelers who will make or break the level of fun the kids will have. On the Disney website it does state that the councelers must have 2 years experience with kids to get hired. That makes me feel better.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:17 PM   #73
TonyaH
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We were on the Wonder on 3/09 & 8/09 and my DD4, loved it. She wanted to go to the club every day. She even talks about the club to all her friends at pre school. I thought the counselors were great. My DD12 received a t-shirt with Mickey drawn on it and he left her a note saying he missed he at the farewell party. I thought that was a nice touch, and my DD thought it was great!
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #74
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My response from Disney

3/2/10

To whom it may concern:

Thank you for your e-mail.

While I appreciate your kind words for the dining staff, I hope you will
accept my heartfelt regret for any disappointment with your cruise
vacation. We truly want all of our guests to have fond memories of
their time spent with us, and I was very sorry to learn of your
observations and disappointment with the youth activities areas. As you
may know, our cruise ships offer the largest area (15,000 square feet)
of children’s space of any ship afloat with the largest number of
children’s counselors of any ship at sea. Our counselor to child ratio
is approximately one counselor for every 15 kids. We recruit
individuals who have experience working with children, and they undergo
further training in the areas of age behavior, discipline, quality
childcare, and service. The performance of our counselors is as vital
to our programming as the activities we offer, and they are always
expected to maintain our company's reputation for providing exemplary
care and service. Please accept my assurance that your concerns have
been taken very seriously, and your remarks will be reviewed by the
appropriate shipboard officers and shoreside management teams.

Again, I truly regret any disappointment and hope these concerns will
not affect your regard for Disney. There is magic in the Disney name,
and we hope to have the chance to sail with you again one day soon.

Sincerely,

Joel Hayes
Executive Guest Correspondent
Disney Cruise Line
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:46 AM   #75
loveysbydesign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven9 Studios View Post
3/2/10

To whom it may concern:

Thank you for your e-mail.

While I appreciate your kind words for the dining staff, I hope you will
accept my heartfelt regret for any disappointment with your cruise
vacation. We truly want all of our guests to have fond memories of
their time spent with us, and I was very sorry to learn of your
observations and disappointment with the youth activities areas. As you
may know, our cruise ships offer the largest area (15,000 square feet)
of children’s space of any ship afloat with the largest number of
children’s counselors of any ship at sea. Our counselor to child ratio
is approximately one counselor for every 15 kids. We recruit
individuals who have experience working with children, and they undergo
further training in the areas of age behavior, discipline, quality
childcare, and service. The performance of our counselors is as vital
to our programming as the activities we offer, and they are always
expected to maintain our company's reputation for providing exemplary
care and service. Please accept my assurance that your concerns have
been taken very seriously, and your remarks will be reviewed by the
appropriate shipboard officers and shoreside management teams.

Again, I truly regret any disappointment and hope these concerns will
not affect your regard for Disney. There is magic in the Disney name,
and we hope to have the chance to sail with you again one day soon.

Sincerely,

Joel Hayes
Executive Guest Correspondent
Disney Cruise Line
WOW...I can not believe that they are proud to say that the staff to child ratio is 1 to 15....that's way too many kids per counselor, especially now that the younger ones can be mixed with the older ones. 1 to 12 would be good or 1 to 10 would be even better. No wonder many of them seem stressed!
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