April 12, 2024 | Alex Summers

40 Tips And Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Disney Cruise


Make Your Cruise Truly Magical

Disney Cruise Line may be one of the smallest in the business but it’s also one the best

Whether you’re a newbie or a pro when it comes to traveling on the high seas, these tips will help you enhance the magic of your next cruise with Mickey and the gang.

Disney Cruise Tips

Book Early

Booking your Disney cruise early guarantees great savings through their dynamic pricing system and helps you snag your preferred cabin. 

And don't worry about sudden changes in plans—your booking is fully refundable.

Disney Cruise TipsThe Telegraph

Let Them Pick Your Room

If you're flexible about cabin location, let Disney to assign your room and enjoy significant savings. 

Simply choose the type of room you want, like an inside cabin, and your specific room will be assigned closer to your sail date.

Disney Cruise Line ship, docks in Key West, Fl. Cloudy sky in the background.Chuck Wagner, Shutterstock

Book A Themed Sailing

Disney Cruise Line offers exciting themed sailings like Pixar Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea, featuring special shows and appearances by beloved characters like Captain America and Buzz Lightyear. 

Don't miss out on the holiday cruises during Halloween and Christmas, where you'll see characters in festive clothes and enjoy themed food. 

Marvel's Avengers Academy on the Disney MagicInside the Magic, Flickr

Upgrade Your Room At The Port

Consider upgrading your cabin at the port just before boarding to potentially save on a higher-tier room. 

While availability isn't guaranteed, it never hurts to inquire during check-in. This could translate to incredible savings.

Disney Cruise line terminal in Port Canaveral, FloridaWorkman, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Download Disney’s Navigator App

Make sure to download Disney Cruise Line’s Navigator app—it's essential for maximizing your time at sea. 

From managing payments and online check-ins to pre-registering for activities, this app has you covered. It also facilitates free communication with your family and fellow cruisers.

Disney Cruise TipsDisney Cruise Line 

Pay With Points Or Gift Cards

To save some money, consider using discounted Disney gift cards for payment. 

You can find these at retailers like Sam's Club or Target, often with around 5% off. You can also use certain credit card points and miles to help pay for your cruise. 

Disney Fantasy cruise ship cocked in Québec cityWilfredo Rafael Rodriguez Hernandez, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Exchange Currency Onboard

Take advantage of Disney Cruise Line's free currency exchange service onboard. They'll even honor the original exchange rate for any leftover money at the end of your cruise, so you get the most value.

Just remember this service applies to bills only, and be sure to present your receipt before disembarking.

Disney Cruise TipsDisney Cruise Line

Book Two Rooms Instead Of A Suite

If you're considering a suite for more space but find the price steep, booking two staterooms can be a budget-friendly alternative. 

Typically, a family of four can expect to pay almost half the price for two cabins compared to a single suite.

Disney Cruise Tips Disney Cruise Line

Bring A Water Bottle

While water stations are available onboard, they might not be conveniently located, and purchasing disposable bottles can add up.

Consider bringing refillable bottles or tumblers to stay hydrated without the hassle.

Disney Dream at Castaway CayNozzleman75, Wikimedia Commons

Use The Carpet As A Map

Navigating a cruise ship can be daunting, but Disney makes it easier with a simple trick: look at the carpet design in the hallways. 

An upside-down pattern indicates you're heading toward the back of the ship, while a right-side-up pattern means you're heading to the front.

Interior of the Disney Magic shipInside the Magic, Flickr

See Characters In Their Cruise Clothes

Be on the lookout for your favorite Disney characters dressed in exclusive clothes for special occasions onboard. 

From Pirate Night ensembles to location-specific outfits, like Mickey's fisherman overalls on Alaska cruises, these unique wardrobe choices add an extra touch of magic to your cruise experience.

Alan Cumming is joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Don’t Miss The Royal Gathering

Check out the Royal Gathering, where you can meet Disney royalty like Tiana and Cinderella all in one place. 

While tickets are free, you'll need them to get in, so be sure to book at least 30 days before your cruise sets sail to secure your spot.

Disney Princess meet-and-greet, Disney Dream cruise shipInside the Magic, Flickr

Go To The Pools Early Or Late

For a more relaxed pool experience, visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid peak times. 

If you want to check out the waterslides, you should do so right after boarding, so you can enjoy them when they're least crowded.

Photo of the Disney Dream Pool DeckMatthew Paulson, Flickr

Decorate Your Door

Add a touch of personality to your cabin door with themed magnets. As well as looking cool, door decorations can help you identify your cabin from all the others.

Close-up Photo of State room door at the Disney Dream ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

You Can Skip The Meet-And-Greets

While formal meet-and-greets are available, keep an eye out for characters like Daisy Duck walking around the decks, providing fun, unexpected encounters.

You can even join in on character dance parties where you can dance with Goofy and Donald Duck.

Goofy in Snow Gear entertains guests on the deck of the Disney WonderPeter Lee, Flickr

Order As Much Food As You Want

On a Disney cruise, indulge in as much food as you want—it's all included in your dining experience.

If you're torn between options, why not try both? Don't forget to create your own dessert sampler to try a variety of tasty treats.

Close-up Photo of Cabanas breakfast  at the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Change Your Dining Plan

If your assigned dining rotation or table arrangements aren't to your liking, just reach out to guest services for a switch. 

They'll gladly help you find a solution that suits your preferences.

Close-up Photo of Cabanas breakfast  at the Disney MagicInside the Magic, Flickr

Indulge In Specialty Dining

While standard dining is great, consider indulging in adults-only restaurants like Remy or Palo for an extra-special culinary experience. 

Make reservations early to secure your spot, or check for waitlist availability for last-minute openings.

Close-up Photo of the Entrance in Palo on the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

The Ship Is Cash-Free

Your "Key to the World" room key is your payment method and identification onboard, so you won't need much cash during your cruise. 

However, consider bringing cash for tipping your service team or concierge-level staff. It's a thoughtful gesture appreciated by the crew.

Photo of Disney Dream Cruise Ship AtriumGPA Photo Archive, Flickr

Join The Sailing Facebook Group

Joining a Facebook group for your cruise can enhance your experience with opportunities for gift exchanges, pre-cruise networking, and valuable tips from seasoned cruisers. 

Simply search for your sailing name (e.g., Disney Wonder Alaska June 12 - 19) on Facebook and join the private group.

Photo of the Disney Princesses on one of the Disney Cruise Line Shipsdavitydave, Flickr

Get A Magical Coffee

Visit Cove Cafe for a truly enchanting coffee experience. Order a "Mickeyccino" with Mickey's face artfully crafted on your cappuccino. It's the perfect way to add an extra touch of Disney magic to your coffee. 

Interior of the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Get Free Unlimited Soda

Save on beverage costs and get soda from the fountain, conveniently located on the pool deck and in the buffet area. 

Instead of purchasing individual cans, bring a refillable bottle to enjoy your favorite sodas throughout the ship without extra charges.

People on the Sail away party on Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Check For Happy Hours

While alcohol isn't complimentary onboard, keep an eye out for discounted drinks during happy hour. Just check the Navigator App and you can can get all your favorite drinks without breaking the bank. 

People at After Hours clubs on the Disney Magic ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Ask About The Sommelier Bin

Take advantage of discounted wine options from the sommelier bin, where opened bottles are served by the glass at reduced rates. 

This presents an excellent opportunity to enjoy high-quality wines at a fraction of the usual cost, adding a touch of luxury to your dining experience without overspending.

People on the Sail away party on Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

B.Y.O.B.

While Disney ships offer an array of specialty cocktails, guests can bring limited drinks onboard. Each adult aged 21 and up is permitted two bottles of wine or six-packs of beer. 

Just remember, there's a corkage fee if you plan to enjoy your wine with dinner, and sealed bottles of water are also allowed.

People on the Sail away party on Disney Fantasy Ship.Inside the Magic, Flickr

Buy Merch Quick

If you spot a must-have item like a hat or sweatshirt, don't hesitate to purchase it right away. 

The onboard gift shops are only open while the ship is at sea, and popular items tend to sell out quickly without restocking.

The interior of the gift store at the Disney Dream ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Not Just For Families

While families are Disney's biggest customers base, these cruises cater to adults as well. Each ship features adults-only areas, including lounges, nightclubs, and sun decks.

People Dancing at the nightclub at the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Take Advantage Of Free Room Service

Unlike other cruise lines, Disney Cruise Line offers complimentary 24/7 room service. 

Treat yourself to iconic Disney snacks like the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar delivered directly to your room at no extra charge.

Deluxe interior state room at the Disney Dream shipInside the Magic, Flickr

Book Early For The Nursery

For parents seeking a bit of relaxation or adult time onboard, early booking is essential for the It’s a Small World 

The nursery is the perfect places for kids six months to three years, providing peace of mind while you enjoy some downtime.

Toy Story Andy's Room on the Disney Magic ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

The Coolest Place For Teens

Each Disney ship has a Vibe, an exclusive youth club catering to teens aged 14 to 17.

With supervision and a bunch of fun activities, it's like having their own private resort onboard—perfect for teens to relax and have fun away from parents.

Vibe teen club on the Disney Dream ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Get Free Motion Sickness Pills

If the motion of the ocean has you feeling queasy, visit guest services for complimentary motion sickness pills. You can get as many as you need to ensure a smoother sailing experience.

People Aboard the Disney Fantasy ShipJoe Shlabotnik, Flickr

Enjoy The Concierge Lounge

Upgrade to a concierge-level cabin for access to a private lounge offering evening drinks, a private sun deck, and the option to order meals from onboard restaurants to your room.

Plus, enjoy a special evening with a Disney character in the lounge during your cruise.

People at the D-Lounge on the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Indulge In A Cheap Spa Visit

Unwind in the Rainforest Room at the Senses Spa without booking a treatment. 

Depending on availability, opt for a one-day pass or a pass for the duration of your cruise at a fraction of the cost of a spa treatment. It's a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the ship.

Entrance of the Senses Spa at the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Visit The Star Wars Bar

Visit the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge on the Disney Wish for an out-of-this-world experience. 

While reservations are no longer required, consider visiting during off-peak hours to avoid crowds, especially when the ship is in port. During the day, guests of all ages are welcome to explore this unique bar.

Disney Cruise Line Disney Wish kid's clubcvorobek, Flickr

Don’t Skip The Musicals

Don't miss out on your ship's spectacular musical performances, like Broadway-quality productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” 

These shows are a highlight of any Disney cruise experience and shouldn't be skipped.

A scene from the Peter Lee, Flickr

Use Adventures By Disney

Elevate your Disney Cruise Line adventure with pre- or post-sailing escapes through Adventures by Disney. 

Explore iconic cities like Barcelona, Paris, and Rome through itineraries designed to immerse you in the local culture.

Close-up Photo of the The Disney Dream a cruise ship operated by Disney Cruise LineCL Photographs, Flickr

See A New Movie At Sea

Experience the latest Disney releases at the onboard theater, no advance tickets required. Many films are offered in 3-D, and the theatre includes titles from Disney, Marvel, Pixar. 

The Walt Disney Theater on the Disney WonderTrey Ratcliff, Flickr

Check Out The Kids Clubs During Open House

While places like the Marvel Super Hero Academy and Star Wars: Millennium Falcon play zones are usually kids-only,  that all changes during open houses. 

Take advantage of the open house to explore areas like Vibe's arcade games and Andy's Room from Toy Story.

Oceaner Lab interactive play floor at Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

See All The Characters On The Last Night

Don't miss your chance to take photos with Disney characters on the last night of your cruise. 

Around 10 or 10:30 p.m., characters gather in the atrium for a short period, allowing guests to bid farewell and snap memorable pictures. 

Chip and Dale on the Disney Fantasy ShipInside the Magic, Flickr

Carry Your Bags To Skip The Line

Avoid the crowds during disembarkation by managing your own luggage on the final morning of your cruise. 

By skipping the luggage drop-off the night before, you can disembark earlier, sometimes before the regular disembarkation process even begins. This makes for a smoother exit from the ship and a stress-free end to your cruise.

All of the Disney characters in front of the Disney Magic Shipdavecobb, Flickr


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