With all of the excitement welcoming the newest ship to the Disney Cruise Line fleet – the Disney Wish – now more than ever I am itching to sail away! I have been on 11 Disney Cruises over the years, our most recent being last October, and I hope to set sail on another really soon.
But until then, I figured I’d share some tips with you all for cruising on Disney Cruise Line. Enjoy!
1. Enjoy a Sit Down Breakfast and Lunch
One of the first things you think of when you think of cruising is FOOD. Disney Cruises are no different! Disney is unique in that it is a cruise line that is all-inclusive. The only exceptions are alcohol, the adults-only restaurants, and select snacks (popcorn at the theater, or sweets from the specialty stores on the newer ships). Even food on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is included! While everyone is quick to head to the buffet or one of the quick service spots on the decks for breakfast and lunch, did you know you can also go to a sit down restaurant? Each day they typically have one sit down restaurant open during breakfast and lunch time – ask your server at dinner the first night and they will give you location and time details! This is just one way to take things slow on the ship and relax just a bit more.
2. Explore Your Stateroom Television
I know many people don’t necessarily want to watch TV on vacation, but there are some super cool channels you can explore! For example, one channel shows information about the boat like the location, weather, etc. One channel streams the view from the bridge. Another channel has informational programming about the ship – answering questions like, “how do we get fresh water?” Many of these programs are also available on demand to watch at your leisure! On demand you can also choose from a selection of different Disney movies and shows – this was literally Disney+ before Disney+ existed. And my favorite thing being that you can watch the Broadway style shows from your room! They are prerecorded, but this is a great way to watch them if you can’t make it to the theatre.
3. You Can Bring Your Own Alcohol
Like many cruise lines, Disney does in fact allow anyone over 21 to bring alcohol on board. Each guest of age can bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne OR a 6 pack of their choice – all of which have to be unopened, of course. These items also have to be on your carry-on when you board the ship – NOT in packed luggage. Read more details directly from Disney here. If it is too much of a hassle to bring your drinks on board, no worries! Disney ships have plenty of bars to choose from, as well as chances to purchase bottles of liquor, wine, etc in the stores. Additionally, in my experience the mixed drinks and other alcohol aboard the cruise ships are more affordable than what you would pay at the Disney parks.
4. Take Advantage of Onboard Activities
There are so many activities on board the Disney ships, and you likely won’t have time to do them all if I am being honest! However, there are some fabulous onboard activities (both included or paid) that you absolutely need to do. Obviously there is great family entertainment like trivia, bingo, character meet and greets, and so much more. But adults can also check out the adult-only activities. Some of these include adults-only trivia, game shows, karaoke, and more. Plus there is tons of adults-only nightlife. If you consume alcohol I highly recommend checking out some of the different alcohol tastings/classes. These are truly a great bang for your buck!
5. Do the FREE Castaway Cay 5K
For all of my RunDisney lovers – don’t miss your chance to complete the free Castaway Cay 5K (yes, you get a “medal”). Now this race does look different than it used to at the moment. Prior to Covid, you could sign up for the race and it would be a bit more formal the day-of (it even allowed you to get on the island before other guests). Currently you can still do the race, you just proceed to the bike rental kiosk on Castaway Cay where they give you a map of the course. After you complete it, you go back to that same kiosk for a “medal” – it is rubber for safety purposes, just like the RunDisney weekend kid’s race medals. This is a fun fitness activity for the whole family and it gets you to parts of Castaway Cay you may not have gone to otherwise.
6. See the Broadway-Style Shows
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make on Disney Cruises is NOT seeing the shows! The shows are one of my favorite parts of Disney Cruises. They are second to none and are the perfect activity for the entire family! Some of the shows are based off of your favorite Disney movies, while others are original works that include Disney characters. Another reason to see the shows is because they come and go over the years – so a show that is there now may not be in the future. Additionally, each ship offers different shows, so on each ship you’ll have a different experience!
7. Take Advantage of Kids Clubs
Parents – did you know that Disney Cruises have free child care? They have clubs for all ages of children (I believe the It’s a Small World Nursery is still closed due to Covid, but that should change eventually). As someone who has gone on Disney Cruises on all stages in life – my first was when I was 3 and now I am 24 – I’ve enjoyed it at all ages. My parents had to beg us to leave the kids clubs – we were always entertained and had so much fun. Pre-Covid they would also make sure kids were fed for each meal as well, and while that is currently not happening I am sure it will be soon! These kids clubs give the chance for parents to get out on the ships by themselves and enjoy pool time, a meal, etc.
8. Use the Disney Cruise Line App to Communicate
Previously you may have been familiar with “wave phones” – mobile phones that were in staterooms and allowed you to communicate with family and other guests. Now there is an even easier way to keep tabs on one another – your smartphone! Simply download the Disney Cruise Line app and use the free messaging feature to communicate with your family and friends who are cruising with you. It is a big ship – so it’ll come in handy!
9. Check Out the Movie Theater
Did you know all of the Disney ships have a movie theater? Check out the movie schedule to see recent releases as well as old classics. If you are on board when a new movie is premiering – it will be available on the ship! I have even been on board when they offer midnight premieres of new movies. It is definitely an awesome experience – and it is included with your cruise fees!
10. Consider Staying On Board
While Disney offers a variety of itineraries, some ports of call are more interesting than others. Most ports I would definitely recommend having an excursion booked if you’re planning to explore. But another thing to consider is not getting off the boat! There is so much to do aboard the ship, and depending on the length of your cruise you may not get to see it all. Staying on board will definitely give you some time to experience more – plus the ship is normally pretty quiet on these days!
I hope you all enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Be sure to sign up for my email list below to be notified when I post more content like this!
Thanks for reading!