Are you planning a Disney Cruise? Here are some of the top Disney Cruise tips, do’s and don’ts to follow as you plan your trip. Keep scrolling down to read!
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We just got back from our first Disney Cruise and it was such a big learning experience. We’ve cruised in the past, but Disney Cruise Lines are a whole new experience.
If you’re heading off on a Disney Cruise for the first time, check out these tips for the things you should and shouldn’t do in order to have a fun and stress-free trip!
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Do Update Your Passport
If you use your passport frequently, then you may be familiar with the expiration date. If not, then you may need to find your passport first. Make sure you know where it is since it is important to the cruise.
Check the date if you haven’t used it in a while and make sure it doesn’t expire before your cruise. If it does, you will need to update it before the cruise to make it onboard your ship. This is less important for domestic (closed-loop) cruises, but it’s a must for international travel.
And make sure that your kids also have passports, including babies!
Read my full guide on applying for a passport for babies and kids
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Don’t Miss Advance Bookings
It may be difficult to book everything you want to do on your cruise, but you have to try.
If you are new to the Disney Cruise Line, you may be surprised by the tiered structure in reservation window openings. Most people have 75 days to book special experiences, dining reservations, and character meet and greets, but more experienced cruisers could have 90 days or more.
To ensure the best chance that port adventures, kids clubs, and other experiences don’t fill up, book as soon as your window opens up.
If you miss an opportunity, there is a chance to try again once you board, but booking in advance helps you plan the rest of your cruise confidently.
We pre-booked several character meet and greets ahead of time (at no charge) and only waited a few minutes at each. So glad we did that!
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Do schedule an Early PAT
When it comes to booking opportunities that you missed when your advance reservations window opened, getting there early can help.
Even if you have everything all lined up, it’s such a relief just to get on board your Disney Cruise Line ship from your Port of Entry.
When you book an early port arrival time, you can get onto the ship sooner and begin enjoying many of the cruise line amenities.
Pro tip: Bring swimwear in your carry on bag so you can go to the pool without having to wait for your luggage.
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is always a nice safety net, but with a cruise, it really makes sense.
Health is an important factor in whether or not you are even allowed to continue your cruise. If you come down with an illness just before your cruise, you will have to cancel.
Since so many things can happen before leaving on any kind of vacation, We recommend travel insurance for ease of mind. It can really save the day if your plans fall apart at the last minute.
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Do Check-In Online
Checking in online is the important first step in booking your Disney cruise. You can check in 75 days prior to your embarkation day and the window opens as soon as the clock strikes 12:00 midnight EST.
Make sure you are at your computer and have all of your info at the ready. You’ll need your login information for the site as well as other travel info and a credit card.
When your online check-in is complete, print out any forms, you will need to bring with you and keep them with your passport and other important travel documents.
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Don’t Forget to Pack Costumes
Disney Cruise Line has all kinds of themed experiences. The Caribbean Cruises always have a Pirate Night, and there are Marvel days and Star Wars days on select cruises.
These occasions call for costumed fun, but it’s also a Disney cruise, so kids can wear costumes whenever they want.
Regular clothes for some experiences are a must (and Disneybounding is always encouraged.) However, a couple of princess dresses can make all the difference in the magic of the cruise. These are definitely cheaper to buy ahead of time.
If you don’t bring your own costumes or pirate gear, Disney offers a lot of options on the ship, but it’s best to plan ahead and bring whatever you’ve already got.
Pro tip: Pack costumes for themed nights in packing cubes so they are easy to find and everything is all together.
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Do Remember to Bring Cash
As with any other kind of travel, it’s a good idea to always have some cash on hand in case you need it. Some things will be cash only. Tips especially require cash if you want to add more than the automatic gratuity.
While you will not have to pay for anything during your time onboard (besides alcohol and specialty experiences), using cash at the port can help you protect your credit card.
If you plan to do Bingo or visit the spa (an extra charge), you may need some extra money on hand.
Pro tip: Make sure to bring cash on port excursions in case you want to purchase food/drink or souvenirs.
Disney Cruise Tips, Dos and Don’ts: Don’t Bring Prohibited Items
There is a list of prohibited and restricted items on the Disney Cruise Line.
You can’t bring firearms or anything that looks like one as well as other weapons, defensive or offensive, including restraining devices and pepper spray. You also can’t bring diving equipment on board, lasers, or scissors with blades longer than 4″.
If you are caught with prohibited items, including explosives and flammable liquid in addition to anything listed above, there could be severe legal penalties.
Other restricted items include aquatic items, some electronics, electric appliances, candles, balloons, remote control devices, sporting equipment, and more.
Disney Cruise Tips: Do Carry Important Documents
Have an easy to carry case that includes all of your important travel documents so you can take them everywhere. You need your passport any time you board the cruise ship.
Remember your print outs from checking in and include them with your other important travel documents. These include proof of citizenship and photo ID.
If you are on a closed-loop cruise, one that begins and ends in the US, some documents are not necessary, but depending on the port you experience, you will need to have your documents to return to your ship.
Disney Cruise Tips: Don’t Risk Being Late!
Do whatever you can to avoid cutting things too close. If you have a flight into your port of call, book it for the night before to try and mitigate any potential delays that could set you back enough to miss your cruise.
It’s always best practice to try to be near your port the night before your embarkation day. If you have a flight delay or other hold up that causes you to miss the ship’s departure, its game over!
On the flip side, don’t book your flight home too early. If your ship is late coming into the port (or there’s an issue on board) you might miss your flight.