Travel Planning and Tips

Cruising Disney – 15 Ways To Make a Magical Disney Cruise Experience

So you’ve heard amazing things about the Disney Cruise and finally decided to bite the bullet and book one. Now that you’ve booked (or are thinking about booking your cruise), you are probably wondering how to ensure your family has the most ‘magical’ time. Well that’s not hard to do on a Disney Cruise. Disney definitely knows cruising. And if your kids love all things Disney, they’ll undoubtedly love the Disney cruise. We can attest to having an amazing time on the Disney cruise.  The 3-5 night Disney Dream cruises are a great option for your first foray into Disney cruising. There is literally fun in every corner of the ship! Cruisers of all generations will find something to love about a Disney cruise. But what really sets a Disney cruise apart is the amazing service. You feel like everyone just wants you to have a great time. All that being said, there are some tips to keep in mind that can help make your Disney cruise the most magical it can be.

Here are our top 15 Tips for your Disney cruise:

  1. Tap into your creative juices! — Decorate your door with magnets for a fun way to easily identify your stateroom. You can make customized magnets yourself or purchase them from Etsy, Ebay, Shutterfly or even just general ones from the store. Take a stroll around a few floors to see how creative some of the other cruisers are with their doors.
  2.  If you’re up for the planning, sign up for a fish extender group! This is a cruiser organized activity (not by Disney).You can find groups on Facebook or Disney focused message boards like Disboards. Each stateroom that wants to participate is placed in a group with other staterooms and has to make or purchase a gift for each stateroom in the group. You deliver the gifts whenever you want over course of the cruise.  Most groups give a gift for each child plus a gift for adults. It’s fun delivering the gifts to the various  floors and receiving gifts each day! The Fish Extender names comes from the fact that your gift collector hangs from the little fish hook outside your stateroom door.
  3. Bring library or old game card to keep in your door for electricity.
  4. Review the cruise navigator each night to plan out your next day.  Even if your main agenda is to relax by the pool or beach, it’s good to check to navigator to see if there are 1 or 2 must do activities for the next day. It also tells you where your favorite character will be for meet and greets!
  5. Be sure to sign up in advance for special activities that may book up such as some picture gatherings or sports simulators. This includes adult activities you might be interested in. The whiskey tasting is a nice treat.
  6. Go against the grain! – Many cruisers pack swim gear in a carry on in order to ride the Aqua duck when first getting on the boat, but the best kept secret is to ride it when everyone gets off the boat at Castaway Cay. The O’mard kids went 5 times in a row! Don’t be afraid to enjoy time on the boat when everyone rushes to get off.
  7. Handy essentials– Bring water and liquids (up to two wine bottles per adult) in carry on. This is great if you want wine with your dinner, but don’t want to pay ship prices. There is a small corkage fee. Also, Swell bottles come in handy to keep water cool on beach days. And don’t forget your speaker! Nothing like a little music while you’re relaxing on the beach.
  8. Dollar Tree finds! – You’ll find lots of handy things for your cruise here such as a laundry bag, popcorn bags to take advantage of popcorn refills and glowsticks which are great for Pirate Night. Arrrggh!!!  They also usually have many Disney themed items.
  9. Storage! – Heavy duty magnetic hooks provide extra storage and over the door organizer came in handy.
  10. Repurpose! — It’s worth finding any Disney items such as lanyards and autograph books from prior adventures and reusing them.
  11. Pin trading is lots of fun for the kids and if you don’t have any or very many pins, you can order them in bulk from ebay. Kids trade pins with other kids throughout the cruise, but there is a special night where you can trade pins with the ship’s crew after the evening show!
  12. Take advantage of all the Kids Club has to offer. The kids club staff can usher kids in and out to special activities (i.e.Water slides, shows) so you don’t have to go through the trouble of checking them in and out.  If you want to enjoy a little time with your kids at dinner, but still have a nice adult only time, just tell your server to bring the kids food first. They’ll bring their food quickly then the kids club staff will come get them and take them up to the kids club.
  13. For a truly first class dining experience, check out the adult only Palo or Remy (for an additional fee). These restaurants offer an exceptional dining experience at sea. You must make reservations in advance.
  14. Do yourself a favor and sleep in the last day. Upon checkout, go to Cabanas instead of Royal Palace for breakfast. They serve the same food and you can give additional gratuities (bring cash!) to servers on the last night of your cruise.
  15. And finally—–Relax!! There is so much to do and see on a Disney cruise, but you don’t have to do it all. It’s a vacation after all. Just think of the things you miss as a reason to take your next Disney cruise.  If you’re even more excited now about your possible on upcoming Disney Cruise check out even more great Disney Cruise Tips here!

Thanks to fellow family traveler Ashani O’mard for contributing to this post!

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