Who’s ready for some gambling, Disney style? While it’s true that the Disney Cruise Line ships do not have casinos, fear not my fellow gamblers, there is still a way for us to get our fix. Disney Cruise Line bingo is a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy! I must admit, I love gambling. Now I’m not hearing my name being called by an evil slot machine or anything, but I do enjoy everything from craps to keno and bingo is no exception. I am a third generation bingo player; both my grandma and my dad are huge fans. So when I found out that I would be covering Disney Cruise Line bingo, I was beyond excited! I’ve played bingo in several places across the United States so I was very interested to compare Disney Cruise Line bingo aboard the Disney Wonder with my previous experiences. Please join me as I share my Disney Cruise Line bingo adventure with you!
Disney Cruise Line Bingo Basics
Before I reveal my experiences, here is some basic information that will be helpful if you choose to try your hand at a game of bingo on your next Disney cruise.
When I was aboard the Disney Wonder, the prices were the same for all of the regular sessions and increased for the final jackpot session played on the last day of the cruise.
There was also a loyalty discount available during the final jackpot session for anyone who had played three or more times during the cruise.
When To Play
Depending on the length of the cruise, the number of bingo sessions will vary. During my seven day Disney cruise to Alaska, there were nine bingo sessions total including the final jackpot session. Each round was conveniently scheduled not to conflict with times in port, dinner seatings or shows. Typically the games at the beginning of the cruise will have fewer players and by the end of the trip, the crowds will have grown right along with the jackpot.
During our sailing, at the end of each session, we were given a special password to use when purchasing cards for the next bingo round to get free bonus cards. They were usually simple little phrases like “I want the goodies!”
The rules were very simple and straightforward.
- Anyone can play, but you have to be 19 or older to claim a bingo.
- Keep your bingo card intact, don’t rip or tear it.
- The last number called must appear in the winning pattern.
There are two types of card; electronic and paper.
The electronic cards literally play themselves. Although there are several buttons on the devices, you do not push anything. All you do is watch the screen while it displays your best card, tells you how many you are away, when you are one away and then alerts you once you have a bingo. This is definitely the no-stress way of playing bingo and is perfect for newbies, kids and people just looking to kick back and relax while gambling.
The paper cards have tabs that you poke and fold, but you have to make sure that you don’t rip or tear your card in the process. You are also allowed to mark the card as long as you don’t make the numbers illegible. Looking back, it would have been extremely helpful to have had a highlighter to mark our paper cards.
During each bingo session, there were several opportunities to win random Disney swag. Everything including plush characters, pins, tote bags and on-board credits were given away. Winners were chosen randomly based on the Key to the World card that was presented when purchasing bingo cards.
My Disney Cruise Line Bingo Experience
As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this post, I love bingo! I actually ended up playing six of the nine sessions of bingo offered during my Alaska cruise. Just like in my cupcake article when I sampled all of them, it was for the sake of research, right? So here’s what happened during one of my many bingo rounds…
My family and I checked our Personal Navigator to see what time bingo was being played and made the plan to arrive about 30 minutes early. We made our way through the ship to the adult lounge area. During our Alaska cruise on the Disney Wonder, all of the bingo games would be played in WaveBands.
We headed inside to find some seats and to decide which cards to purchase. There were several different card options available, but since all four us would be playing this time, we chose the family pack. For $80, we got two electronic machines each with 24 cards per game and two 6-packs of paper cards.
Once we had our cards and our seats, we quickly decided that I would play one of the electronic cards since I would be taking photos and video. My youngest son (age 8) really wanted the other electronic cards, so my other son (age 11) and husband were left to play the paper cards. Next, we checked out the beverage menu.
There were several servers working the room and when one came by our table, my sons both ordered root beers, I asked for water and my husband got his usual Johnny Walker Black. While we waited for our drinks to come and the games to begin, we took the time to get ourselves organized.
A few moments later, our beverages arrived and it was time for the bingo session to begin. First our bingo host, Drew, went over the rules and had a player come up to verify that all of the balls were there. Next, he told us that when we were one away from a bingo, we were supposed to stand up in order to alert the crew and this would have the added bonus of psyching out the other players. Lastly, Drew reminded everyone that if they were having any problems to flag down a crew member for help. Now it was time to play!
We were instructed what pattern we would be trying to get and then our bingo host started calling the numbers. Once numbers started being called the game moved very quickly. Playing electronic cards, I had no trouble keeping up, but people around me who had paper cards and were using the poke and fold method were struggling a bit. A bingo dauber, highlighter or even a crayon would have been super helpful. The caller only has to wait 10 seconds between numbers and if you happen to have the last number called on every one of your cards, well, you get the picture. As numbers are called they light up on big screens located around the room giving you a chance to catch up. But remember, the last number called has to appear in the winning pattern, so you can’t allow yourself to get too far behind.
Now I’ve played bingo in lots of bingo halls before. Everywhere else I have played, you could hear a pin drop. Bingo was serious business and you didn’t even think about calling a bingo if you weren’t sure you had it. Not on the Disney Cruise Line; this was all about having fun. During the games, there was music played like “We Will Rock You” by Queen and the perfectly appropriate “Oh Yeah” by Yello when an O number was called. The crew even did a special dance every time B11 was drawn, because of course everyone knows (now I do) B11 in Spanish is “be once” which sounds just like Beyoncé. The fun wasn’t just for the crew, though. We were all instructed to shout out “Shake it up, Betty!” to the bingo machine any time we felt like we weren’t getting our numbers drawn and to tell the standers who were one away to “Sit down!” We were even told it was better to yell “Bingo!” and be bingo embarrassed than to not get our cash, so if in doubt, shout it out. The atmosphere was energetic and exciting and you could tell everyone was really enjoying it.
During our session, there were four different bingo games played with the last one being a blackout for a larger amount of money called the Snowball Jackpot. If you were able to get a blackout in 46 numbers or less, you would win the pot. If not, the game continued on for a smaller amount of money and the Snowball Jackpot would increase and roll over to the next session. The Snowball Jackpot was guaranteed to be given away during the last game at the final jackpot bingo session of the cruise. No one won the Snowball Jackpot during this bingo round, but we did see it won during the last game of the cruise. By that time, the prize had reached close to $7,000! Can you imagine winning that??
Our session continued on, alternating between bingo games and giveaways. Each game was worth anywhere between $100 and $500. On more than one occasion, we saw multiple people win and split the pot. Often when winners had to split, they were given bonus bingo cards to play during the final game of the session.
Despite not winning, my family and I had a terrific time during our first session of Disney Cruise Line bingo. So much so, that we played over half of the games available during our cruise. Everyone around us, from toddlers to seniors, joined in on the fun and helped to make the experience even that much more entertaining.
Now for you diehard bingo fans out there, I recorded a video of one bingo game. I apologize in advance for the strange railing shot at about 1:44. I got a little excited, because I was only one away. Plus the very enthusiastic boy screaming…well, he’s mine (the little guy pictured above getting really excited about being one away). By the end of cruise, he was known by the bingo crew as the loudest kid on the ship. 🙂
So have you ever played Disney Cruise Line bingo? Did you win and want to share? Please leave a comment!