Thanks Disney for providing me this cruise for free.
From the moment I saw my first Star Wars film, I’ve dedicated my life to finding the Force in the real world. There’s something special, metaphysical about the tale. To the casual fan, they see an entertaining story about good and evil jockeying for position. More knowledgeable followers of the Star Wars universe, however, see mythology and philosophical questions.
Just two weeks ago, my 6-year-old son, Finnegan, and I went on the adventure of a lifetime when we boarded the Disney Fantasy, one of Disney Cruise Line’s ships, and hit the hyperdrive on our internal geek engines.
Both of us are die-hard fans of the saga. My little Finn knows the conflicts and crises as well as the victories and vindications. He constantly corrects people on their pronunciations of names and gives me a run for my money when it comes to wielding a lightsaber.
But no matter where you fall on the scale of youngling to Jedi Master, here are 18 reasons you need to visit a galaxy far, far away at Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea:
1. You can learn a lot when you’re far from home.
We flew from the West Coast, land of sunshine and droughts, to Port Canaveral, Florida where our (space) ship awaited. This would be the longest amount of time my son has ever been away from his mom.
But there’s an aesthetic to being lost and finding your way, being untethered from your routines. Han Solo knew that lesson, and Luke Skywalker yearned for it.
2. You have an excuse to buy lots of cool gear.
If there’s one thing Darth Vader knows, it’s how to accessorize. If you’re looking for an excuse to nab some rad luggage or travel gear, here’s your permission slip!
3. The safety of the First Order.
The ship’s entertainers and its crew are some of the finest people I’ve ever met. Everyone was so helpful and welcoming. It felt like we were important diplomats on the way to the Galactic senate, especially my son Finn, who was treated like royalty.
Of course, the Imperial officers were still on the lookout for rebel scum. Nothing could stop them.
4. Opportunities to practice your moves.
Sometimes, things can get broken when you’re working on your Jedi skills with a lightsaber at home. We’ve lost many a table leg to a rogue lightsaber move. But on the ship, you’ll get ample chances to work on your Jedi skills.
Whether it’s the scores of people carrying lightsabers or the shows, you’re in the right place for some saber rattling.
5. Never-ending activity options.
In addition to all the normal fun stuff for adults, there were tons of crafts and games and physical activities for kids of all ages (and not just those geared towards Star Wars fans). Here, for instance, is the Millennium Falcon my son made me to take home.
I’m not crying, you’re crying …
6. You get to mingle with alien life.
If you never venture into unknown lands, how can you meet all the cool creatures that exist beyond the Outer Rim? Han Solo seemed to have a knack for conversing with lots of species. I’m trying to take Han’s lead, but maybe without the bounty on my head …
7. Experience the Force awakening in you!
You haven’t truly seen Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens until you’ve seen it aboard a cruise ship in 3D. You feel like you’re right in the middle of the action! Fun fact for movie buffs: whenever a Disney movie premieres on land, it also premieres on the Disney cruise ships.
8. See rad shows, that are strong with the Force.
I got to interview the show director for Star Wars Day at Sea, Tony Giordano, and he gave me the insider info on Star Wars culture, shows, and the full experience. Tony is also a dad, so he had a unique parental perspective about the whole Star Wars adventure. Check it out!
9. You get to test your deepest fears!
Admittedly, I was more nervous than my son when we went to Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, but he helped me through it. The show is a totally interactive experience, whether you’re on stage or in the crowd. We used the Force to make the Jedi Temple appear, while our guides taught us important lessons. Stay for the special guests!
10. Meet the dark side.
Whether you identify with the light or dark side, guests can revel in personalized meetings with iconic Star Wars characters from the dark side of the Force. This ship is the only place you can even meet Captain Phasma!
11. Meet the light side.
The rebels are a much more welcoming crew. Droids and a furry friend would love to take photos with you and your little Jedi! Chewie and I go way back. I’ll put in a good word for you.
12. Did I mention the desserts?
The second sweetest thing, after all the nostalgic memories and incredible experiences, are the Star Wars desserts. Like this one. Sure, we all winced when Han was frozen in carbonite, but it turns out he’s freaking delicious.
13. Exclusive cruise guests …
I don’t want to ruin all the surprises, but there are characters and fun that you can only enjoy on the cruise. For example, a certain Chrometrooper with an accent and an evil streak might be on board … Don’t cross her, if you know what’s good for you. And for Disney fans, lots of other characters are also available for meet and greets throughout the cruise.
14. Did I mention the toys?
Disney + Star Wars = YES. They’ve given us so many crossovers and opportunities to make new stories all by ourselves with toys. Who says adults can’t play with dolls?
15. Find a new career! Learn a new trade!
Boba Fett, or as my son used to call him “Phat Bobo,” has a few pieces of advice for you. This Mandalorian Merc is the guy to see. He has lots of opportunities in the tracking and capturing fields.
16. Meeting new friends.
There is nothing cooler than finding people with similar interests and getting to hang out with them for hours and hours. Whether you’re on the light side or the dark side, there are plenty of friends to make aboard the ship.
17. Watching the sky turn to the light side.
You don’t have to travel to the stars and battle with lasers to watch the sky flicker and explode. Every Disney cruise has a fireworks night, and we were treated to an amazing fireworks display the evening of Star Wars Day at Sea. The show itself will wow you, but then the fireworks, set to music from the saga we all know and love, will blow your mind.
18. You get to take the memories with you.
Listen, your little Vaders and Leias may have a hard time readjusting back to planet Earth and the solar system in general, but it will be worth it. All of the memories and keepsakes you bring back will keep you anchored in the stars.
In the end, I realized that becoming a dad is the closest I’ll get to finding the Force. And with the help of Star Wars Day at Sea aboard the Disney Fantasy, we will finally be able to complete our Jedi training.More On