25+ Must-Know Disney Cruise Tips + Tricks
Disney paid for my family’s vacation to Walt Disney World. As always, all opinions are my own.
Sharing all the best hidden Disney cruise tips and tricks. If you’re about to set sail, you’ll want to know all of this to make the most of your magical vacation!
DCL’s Hidden Tips and Tricks
I think we can all agree that cruises are great fun. Make it a Disney cruise and make it even better. They go out of their way to make anyone in the party a magical experience. From families to couples to friends, there are activities, entertainment and dining for everyone!
We’ve been lucky enough to take a few Disney cruises over the years and we’ve had a great time each time! We went with all the kids, a few kids, no kids – every trip was great.
Today, we’re sharing some Disney cruise tips we learned while sailing with Mickey and his friends. Be sure to keep these in mind as you prepare for your next trip, we hope they help make your cruising adventure even more magical.
Your home away from home is your cabin. We have some great cabin tips for maximizing space and using everything there is to offer. Check it out!
1 – storage – Make sure to use the space under the bed for storage. With 13 inches of clearance, it’s perfect for your luggage!
2 – cabin door – Personalizing the exterior of your cabin door is an interesting idea. All doors look the same, which is a great way to help kids get to know their room. The door is made of magnets so it is easy to decorate. Plan ahead and bring some interesting ideas.
- Note – bring extra magnets! You can hang lanyards, schedules and maps inside the door.
3 – cabin lights – Bring an expired gift card that you can put in the slot next to the door to trigger the lights and air conditioner. If you don’t have a card in the slot, then you have no power.
4 – hang wet clothes – Using a retractable cord in the shower is a must, especially for all water activities on a Disney cruise ship. This is the perfect place to hang all your wet swimsuits.
5 – room exitS – Each room has three standard (US) power sockets and two 220v sockets. Make sure to plan accordingly.
6 – Water bottle – Each cabin has a mini fridge to store water for your trip if you need it throughout the day. You can ask for a glass of water, but it’s always good to tip. You can also bring a reusable cup to refill your drink.
before you get in the car
A few things to keep in mind before getting on the boat…
7 – Disney Navigation App – You need to download the Disney Navigator app. It’s very useful and keeps you informed of everything that’s going on on board. They also have a free chat service so you can keep in touch with other people on board. It is only available on board.
8 – Kids Club Registration – Be sure to sign up for the Kids Club during online check-in. This saves a lot of time, and while someone else is filling out the paperwork, you can just go right over and get your band.
- Note – If you have a baby, be sure to enroll in the “It’s a Small World” nursery. Time slots are filled, get your kids registered and set a drop-off time, and you can have a date night on the cruise.
9 – Character meet + greet – Pre-register for popular character meetups before you board the ship. You can get your reservation when you normally check in (75-120 from sailing). These will soon make it easier for you to know that you have reserved your spot.
- NOTE – Pre-register for special character breakfasts online. 😉
Pay attention to these…
Here are some extra tips to consider when packing. For more information, be sure to check out our Walt Disney World packing list.
10 – Carry-on baggage – On the first day of the cruise, either pack a bag or wear a swimsuit under your clothes. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get your luggage until later that night. So if you plan ahead, you will be able to enjoy the water slides first. It’s less crowded and your kids will love it!
11 – lanyard – Each guest will receive their own world key card. This card allows you to disembark, enter rooms, and purchase items. Every guest expects to have their business card with them at all times. Using a lanyard will help you not lose your card. Buying lanyards ahead of time can save you money.
12 – jacket/coat – It gets cold when cruising at night. Even if you’re going to a warm destination, you still want to bring a jacket. With outdoor shows and fun activities on the deck, it can be windy and cold.
13 – Navigator – Every night in your bed, you will receive a navigator. This is the agenda for the second day’s schedule.
- NOTE – Be sure to keep your will or take a photo of it so you can have it anytime, especially on port days. It has ship “ALL ABOARD” hours and phone numbers in case of emergency.
So much delicious food!
You might want to lose a few pounds before going on a cruise so you can regain it with the delicious food on board! There are plenty of options, but keep these tips in mind as you sail.
14 – dining – During your stay, you will rotate between three restaurants. Your waiters rotate with you, which means they know you very well and vice versa. Be sure to go and enjoy the fun and atmosphere of each restaurant.
- Note – for a good evening, you can always make a reservation at one of Disney’s finer restaurants. Fees are not included but the amazing menu is amazing!
15 – hide menu – Here are some hidden menu ideas not available on the dinner menu:
- Seafood Platter
- Cheese Platter
- Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar
16 – dinner tip – You can order as much food as you want. The waiter will bring you as many appetizers, main courses and desserts as possible. Want to relax over dinner too? The server will even cut up your child’s food for you.
17 – hospitality – Every Disney cruise has a lot of fun stuff to enjoy. We recommend bringing some extra cash to enjoy at Vanellope’s. You can find some one-of-a-kind treats there that are not to be missed!
18 – extra drink – Beverages (except soda) provided around the cruise ship are subject to an additional charge. If you want something different. Bring your own mug, fill it with soft serve ice cream, and head to the fountain for a drink. You will get your own floating drink for free.
19 – Room Service – You can order drinks and food delivered to your room for free. However, gratuities are not included. Note – Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar is not on the menu but can be ordered.
Extra fun on board
We love all the extra fun we get on a Disney cruise. Yes, they have great shows and entertainment, but there’s so much more to consider!
20 – Pirate Night – It’s one of our favorite nights out on the boat, so be sure to bring some pirate accessories. Everyone gets a headscarf, but a night out with the whole family is fun.
twenty one – Movie – Who doesn’t like a good movie? Especially on a cruise ship! It’s a great way to rest and relax from the sun. They do serve popcorn, candy and drinks outside the theater, but they do charge for it.
- Note – get food and drinks from the pool deck and bring them free.
twenty two – wake up call – Your kids will love wake up calls from Disney characters. You need to arrange these in advance.
twenty three – fish extension exchange – This is a bag hanging outside the door. You make it ahead of time and take it with you. This is a gift exchange with other families on board, and you can give and receive gifts on board. It takes some preparation before the cruise, but it’s a great way to make others feel good and get the kids involved. Be sure to bring everything up ahead of time to save money.
twenty four – crypto transaction – You won’t want to miss out on Officer Badge Deal Night. This is a one night only event. This is unannounced, so be sure to check the navigator daily so you don’t miss out!
- Note: You can purchase badges to trade before boarding. 😉
Disney’s Private Island
Our favorite part of a Disney cruise is a stop on their private island. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s also a lot of fun, including biking, snorkeling, food, and more. Here are some suggestions to consider when going there.
25 – drift island – If you arrive at the Disney Castaway Cay port, get off early! This will allow you to book the perfect spot on the beach (hammocks are our favorite). There are many more interesting things to do on the island. From biking to eating to snorkeling, the whole family will love it!
- Note – Disney has some hidden treasures in the water. Grab your snorkeling gear and go find hidden Mickey statues, Minnie statues, boats and more. Just a hint – each can be found under buoy balls floating in the water. 😉
26 – beach towel – Disney provides beach towels that can be used even when going ashore. This helps you not have to pack bulky towels.
Whether you know these tips or not, your Disney cruise will be amazing! We just hope these tips help you have more magical time at sea cruising!
What are your favorite Disney cruise tips?