Unicorn cupcake in front of mickey ears on the Disney cruise ship

Disney Cruise Tips

All of the best disney cruise tips to make your voyage extra special including disney cruise online check-in, disney cruise line app, what to pack for the disney cruise, where to dine and more!

Unicorn cupcake in front of mickey ears on the Disney cruise ship

Are you planning a disney cruise? Below are our best tips for the Disney cruise. Don’t miss our Complete Guide to the Disney Dream Cruise with everything you need to know about the Disney Dream cruise. We share all of our favorite culinary experiences, dining opportunities and more.

Let us know if you book a cruise and find our guides useful. We would love to hear what you think about the Disney Cruise!

What to pack for the Disney Cruise

Besides the typical cruise vacation attire, we also recommend bringing the following items.

  • Refillable water bottle – You must pay for bottles of water on the ship, but free filtered water is available. Bring your own refillable water bottle so you don’t have to worry about paying for water.
  • Some snacks – While there is no shortage of food on the Disney cruise, we love to bring a few snacks to have on hand. Especially if you have little ones who like snacks on demand, you will want to pack a few nonperishable snacks sealed in their original packaging. Disney Cruise Line has requirements for what type of food you can bring on board. We bring things like granola bars and small packages of crackers.
  • Sunscreen -The ship also has an onboard shop where you can purchase sunscreen, toiletries and other miscellaneous items you might forget at home.
  • Semi-formal attire and a jacket (for men) if you plan to dine in the adults-only dining rooms. Both Palo and Remy have a dress code that is strictly enforced. But, Disney Cruise Line will provide you with suitable attire to wear if you forget your semi-formal attire at home.
  • Pirate night attire – We always love to get into the Disney spirt and love to dress up for pirate night. It’s definitely not a requirement to dress up but a lot of people do.
  • Day-of embarkation bag (aka: carry on bag) – As soon as you arrive at the port, the cruise line will take your luggage from you and you won’t see it again until later in the day. We like to pack swimsuits, medicine we might need, an extra set of clothes and anything else we need for the day.

Mickey and Minnie Dolls in their cruise outfits

Disney Cruise Online Check-in

Make sure to check in online for a Disney Cruise as soon as check-in opens (75 days prior to sailing date for first time guests.) For online check-in, you will need your passports and all of your pre and post cruise travel information including flights and hotels.

At online check-in you will also select your port arrival time. We recommend an early port arrival time as it allows you to board the ship as early as possible. You will likely beat the crowds and can enjoy the pools, waterslides and more experiences before the boat even leaves port.

Things to pre-book on the Disney Cruise

After completing online check-in, you will be able to reserve your spot at some of the ticketed character meet and greets, like the Princess Gathering and the Frozen Meet ‘n Greet. You can also book the adults-only dining reservations, wine tastings, spa, excursions, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess makeovers and more. If you have little ones 3 and under, it’s a great time to reserve your spot at It’s a Small World Nursery too.

We highly recommend booking a reservation at the adults-only dining experiences, Palo and Remy, as soon as you complete online check-in. You don’t want to miss this experience!

Disney Cruise Plan

Day of embarkation

  • Tour the boat to get a sense of where everything is located. Make note of all the places you want to return to at a later time.
  • Visit the nursery and kid’s club. Tour the facilities and let your children play while you are there. It’s a great time to meet the crew and familiarize yourself with the youth activities.
  • Unpack once your luggage arrives to your stateroom.
  • Reserve a free pack ‘n play or stroller from guest services.
  • Sign up for the free WiFi. On the first day of the cruise, Disney Cruise Line offers 50MB of free Connect@Sea Wi-Fi. However, we highly recommend unplugging completely. Limited wi-fi is a great excuse to disconnect and enjoy the cruise!

Glass of cocktail sitting on a bar on the Disney Cruise

Dining on the Disney Cruise

For our full overview of dining on the Disney Cruise, please read the Complete Guide to the Disney Dream Cruise. But below are two dining tips that should not be missed!

  • Make reservations for brunch or dinner at Palo or Remy. We highly recommend scheduling dinner during sunset.  Dining at Palo and Remy was one of my favorite parts of our trip on the Disney Cruise. The food is incredible and the views are stunning!
  • Do you love Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars? You won’t find them on the menu, but you can order the ice cream bars via room service. Little ones often receive them for dessert at dinner too. So just ask!

Peanut butter milkshake sitting on the counter at Vanellopes Sweets and Treats on the Disney Cruise

Castaway Cay

Spend as much time as possible on Castaway Cay! If it’s your first time visiting the island, don’t book an excursion. The island offers plenty of things to do.

Once docked, leave the boat early and try the Castaway Cay 5K. Then, spend the remainder of the day exploring the island. Castaway Cay offers something for everyone from private cabanas where you can get a beachside massage to bikes, snorkeling, waterslides and more. Lunch is provided at Cookies BBQ so you won’t go hungry!

Character Experiences

The Disney Cruise is a great way to see all of your favorite Disney characters. Line up early so you are one of the first people in line. We are often the first people in line and only end up waiting about 10 to 15 minutes. For more popular characters you might wait longer. But, the lines are generally much smaller than what we experience at the parks. Check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App once onboard for the times and locations of character greetings.

Toddler girl with chip and dale.

Disney cruise line navigator app

As soon as you book your cruise, download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App. Prior to sailing, the app offers a countdown to sailing date. Once onboard the ship, the app is the place to find all of the information needed for the cruise.

The app includes a map of the ship, daily activities, character greetings, dining options, times and more. It’s also the place to connect to the Connect@Sea Wi-Fi, message other travelers and check your account balance information. There is no charge to use the app, however additional charges apply for Connect@Sea Wi-Fi.

Make sure to refresh the app regularly for the most up-to-date information.

 

Disney Cruise Line navigator app with map of the ship

Disney cruise line navigator app

Disney Cruise and Walt Disney World

If you’re planning a cruise out of Port Canaveral, we recommend adding a few nights before or after your cruise to enjoy Walt Disney World. We prefer adding the nights on to the beginning of our cruise as it’s a great way to start the trip.

For a pre or post-cruise visit, we love Disney’s Polynesian Village Beach Resort because the resort already has the relaxing tropical vibe we expect on the cruise. Plus, we love it’s proximity to the Magic Kingdom. The pool at the resort is also one of our favorites and we love the character breakfast at ‘Ohana.

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, don’t miss some of our favorite Extra Magical Experiences at the Magic Kingdom or Sweet Spots at Disney Springs.

Disney Cruise Florida Resident

Disney frequently offers discounts for Military and Florida Residents. Check the Disney Cruise Line website for special offers.

Other things to know about the Disney Cruise

  • We recommend children aged 2 and up for the Disney Cruise. The ideal age is probably closer to ages 4 and up. There are a lot more things to do on the ship for older travelers. But, we traveled with our toddler / almost preschooler and she LOVED it!
  • There are no irons in the cabins. To prevent wrinkles, we like to roll our clothes before packing them in the suitcase.
  • Don’t pack beach towels or beach toys. Towels are given to you on Castaway Cay and you can purchase beach toys at the island shops.
  • The cabins offer a lot of storage in a small space. With three people in one cabin, we have plenty of closet space, drawers, cabinets and space under the bed for everything we bring with us.
  • Some things can only be purchased in select locations. For example, if you visit Castaway Cay, make sure to purchase any items you want on the island. You can’t purchase the same items on the boat or online.
  • Plan to see the live nightly shows and if you have little ones who might need to leave in the middle of the show, don’t worry! We always sit in the last few rows in the back of the theatre. The view is still great and it allows us to scoot out quickly if we need to leave.
  • Don’t try to do everything! There is so much to do on the Disney Cruise. Enjoy whatever activities you choose and then plan another cruise to experience even more! Enjoy yourself, you will have a great time!

If you want to know more about the Disney Dream Cruise including what to do, what to eat and what to see, make sure to read our Complete Guide to the Disney Dream Cruise.

A huge thank you to Disney Cruise Line for hosting us on our recent cruise! As always, all opinions are my own.