A new-style adventure by Disney — with no mouse ears in sight
Jack and Will Andrews do a little souvenir shopping in Durnstein, Austria along the Danube River.

A new-style adventure by Disney — with no mouse ears in sight

We sniff the strong perfume that even kids used, since they bathed so infrequently (servants just once a year) and learn that even though royal children had servants to do everything for them (even brush their teeth), they didn't have a lot of time to play because they were expected at court (sitting quietly for hours). Still, our gang decided they'd rather be royals instead of servants.

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On a (relatively) stress-free vacation aboard the Disney Wonder
Eileen and the Sitzmans and the Disney Wonder

On a (relatively) stress-free vacation aboard the Disney Wonder

It's well past the kids' bedtime, but no one is nagging the preschoolers and kindergartners to brush their teeth and go to sleep. Instead, they're dressed to the nines (the girls anyway in full princess regalia) before heading to a poolside pirate party

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Disney’s private island and our last night on the cruise
Ethan and Mike check out a stingray

Disney’s private island and our last night on the cruise

The sky is blue, the water clear turquoise. We step off the Disney Wonder onto kids vacation heaven -- a great big beach, a play structure anchored in the water. Machines dispensing all the ice cream and pop parents will let the kids have (as well as fresh fruit).

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Some beach time, some spa time
Ethan and Hannah with sand Mickey Mouse

Some beach time, some spa time

While the ship is in Nassau, we take the chance to check out the newly renovated Sheraton Cable Beach Resort. It’s great for kids -- a beautiful beach, three pools and rooms that open onto the pool.

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Kid Nirvana on the Disney Cruise
Towel animals on the Disney Cruise

Kid Nirvana on the Disney Cruise

It’s well past their bedtime but they’re not in bed. Instead, they’re dressed to the nines (the girls anyway, in princess get-up, complete with sparkly shoes and Minnie Mouse dresses) waiting in line to get Cinderella and Jack Sparrow’s autograph. They’re at the Oceaneer lab climbing up to the top of the “pirate” ship so they can slide down.

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A trip to Walt Disney World with two little ones
Hannah and Ethan with Goofy at character breakfast

A trip to Walt Disney World with two little ones

DAY ONE -- It’s 3 p.m. and the pool at Disney’s Boardwalk resort in Orlando is packed with parents and kids, including a lot of little ones. “It takes patience…

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HEARING WHAT KIDS THINK ABOUT CRUISING

There are all the other kids onboard (more than a million children cruise every year, reports the Cruise Lines International Association, more than 1,000 on each Disney ship) and organized kids' and teen activities from morning until night. "You'll find a friend on the first day," promises Brooke Abzug, 10, who likes the shipboard scavenger hunts staged by the kids' clubs.

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