A special thank you to Disney for inviting my family and I to participate in the 2020 Disney Creators Celebration, which included a stay at the Disney Riviera Resort, park tickets, and a hosted Disney Cruise. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
How did it take me 35 years to go on my first cruise?! I’ve heard time and time again that there are “cruise people” and “non cruise people.” Well after our first Disney cruise, you count me officially as one of the “cruise people”– and maybe even more specifically a “Disney cruise person” because y’all, we are hooked. It was the most magical three days, but I admit there were a few things I wish I had known before we left! Of course, I’m not gonna leave y’all hanging! I’m sharing all my first Disney Cruise tips with y’all so that you can be even more prepared for a magical vacay!
First Disney Cruise Tips
Although I hadn’t cruised before (and it had been over ten years since my husband had been on a cruise), thankfully I have experienced cruisers in my fam. My aunt, who has been cruising for years, shared all her tips with us. And over our trip, I picked up a few gems that are worth noting too! We’ll be talking seasickness, stateroom organization, and more! Need help packing? Check my cruise packing list with free printable here!
Disney Cruise Tip #1: Pack Mini “First Aid” kit
As a mom, I always err on the side or preparedness, but let me tell ya: I dropped the ball on this one. I bought Seabands buuuut that was about it. And then my husband ended up having some tummy troubles on board. Medicine on board is very hard to come by, and often times you still need to see the doctor to even get over the counter meds! I ended up having to go on a search in Nassau. Finding medicine was not easy! And of course the price was jacked way up! A mini first aid kit will not take up a bunch of room, and if you do end up needing it, you will be so thankful! Items I recommend including are Seabands and Dramamine or Bonine for nausea, pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol, Tums and Imodium for tummy troubles, cold/allergy medicine, bandaids for anything from blisters to small cuts, and anti-itch cream for potential bug bites! It sounds like a lot, but you don’t have to bring an entire box of each item. And if you need it, you’ll need it. TRUST ME.
Disney Cruise Tip #2: Take Advantage of 24 Hour Room Service
It only took us a day to figure this out, and it was a game-changer, y’all. Breakfast service began at 8 am on our cruise (I hear this varies!). My kids, who typically wake between 6 and 6:30, are accustomed to eating around 7. That extra hour doesn’t seem like much, but my children were in near meltdown mode by 8. The moment the kids were up, we ordered coffee and fruit bowls to the room. They were able to snack, and we were able to have our coffee while everyone dressed for the day. Coffee in your stateroom on the verandah (and happy kids!)? PARENT WIN. Another pro tip that I didn’t learn until later: Mickey ice cream bars can also be delivered to your room!
Disney Cruise Tip #3: Utilize the Laundrette
As a cruise newbie, I had no idea that irons wouldn’t be available in the stateroom. But then I saw the hallway laundrette! It’s a mini hallway laundry room where you can do laundry or iron clothes! They also offer laundry detergent! It’s open 24-hours, and I never had to wait to use the iron. I did read others recommend packing wrinkle releaser, but that’s an item I’d personally leave at home for a Disney cruise!
Disney Cruise Tip #4: Bring Magnetic Hooks
This is a tip that came straight from my aunt, so I can’t take any credit. But it was a helpful one! The walls and ceilings of the staterooms are metal, making them perfect for magnetic hooks! We used them to hang our backpacks and purses up on the wall. You could also use it to hang towels, lanyards, etc.! It’s also what we used to hang the over-the-door shoe organizer! We ended up using 40-lb hooks, but honestly, I wish we had gone with 50 lbs. The shoe organizer was slipping!
Disney Cruise Tip #5: An Over-the-door Shoe Organizer Will Keep You Clutter-free
If you’re cruising with kids– or even several people in one stateroom, staying organized can be a struggle. Toys, shoes, diapers, wipes, hair brushes– literally things were everywhere with three adults and two kids in our room!! But once we hung the over-the-door organizer, we stayed pretty clutter free! We put everything from shoes to those toys I mentioned, Layla’s autograph book to Key to the World Cards, and everything in-between! Anything that was small and without a place, ended up there. Make sure you have clear or mesh pockets in your organizer so that you can see what’s in each pocket!
Disney Cruise Tip #6: The On-board Stores Shut Down While in Port
If you do happen to forget something, in our case, goggles for Layla, be sure to visit the on-board store before the ship is in port! Goggles were another thing that I hunted for in Nassau, and I was unable to find a single kids goggle option. On-board souvenirs, that medicine you may have forgotten, or even apparel (like a swimsuit or sweatshirt) cannot be purchased since the stores will be closed! Be sure to do your shopping beforehand!
Disney Cruise Tip #7: Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App
If you don’t want to pay for wifi on board, you can still easily communicate with your friends and family with the messaging service within the Disney Cruise Line app! Download it before you board while you still have cell service! Once onboard the ship, you’ll see detailed daily schedules, all restaurant operation times, character meet-and-greets, kids club activities, and more!
Disney Cruise Tip #8: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
The only reservation I made before boarding the ship was Layla’s appointment to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. And y’all, I am so glad I snagged that appointment! It’s one I definitely recommend booking ahead of time. There were very limited time options by the time I got to it. We took a 1 o’clock appointment time on Castaway Cay day, and I wish I had done it a little later. Sometime between 3-4 would have been ideal! Once she was all dolled up in her princess dress, we weren’t about to go back to the pool! Regardless, she was on cloud nine for the rest of the day! PRO TIP: be sure to bring your own princess dress to save money! I bought Layla’s Cinderella dress on Amazon for under $40, and all of the ladies were commented about how high end it looked! Mom win and kid win!
Disney Cruise Tip #9: Don’t Skip the Shows!
From the moment we boarded the Disney Dream, one thing I head over and over and over was how magical The Beauty and the Beast show was. And y’all, it did not disappoint! I’ve seen several Broadway shows, and The Beauty and The Beast was on-par with a Broadway-quality show! Be sure to show up with time to find a seat. We ended up walking in about 10 minutes before showtime and were on the second-to-last row. We still loved it, but I wish we could have been a little closer up! Also, you can bring in your own snacks and drinks (grab some at The Cabanas pre-show!) if you won’t want to buy drinks and popcorn outside the theatre!
Disney Cruise Tip #10: Pre-purchase the Photo Package (or Don’t!)
If you’re interested in purchasing the photo package, be sure to do it at a minimum of three days before boarding to take advantage of the discount! Do you need the photo package? Well, that’s really up to you. I love photos– love them. And having quality photos is important to me! With purchasing the photo package, we had photos at all the character meet and greets, at dinner most nights, and on Castaway Cay. For future Disney Cruises, I’ll probably pack my own camera and skip the photo package. I truly enjoy taking photos and do not find it a burden at all. In fact, it brings me joy! So, I felt like I missed out on that by leaving my camera at home. If you want those higher quality images without the pressure of doing it yourself, it’s worth it! Just be sure you make it to some of those photo opps to get your family photographed!
What additional first Disney Cruise Tips did I miss? Share them in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of my Disney travel posts!