7 Tips for Your First Disney Cruise

by Sherri Eisenberg

7 Tips for Your First Disney Cruise

by Sherri Eisenberg

You’ve booked your first Disney cruise … now what? Well, just because you have picked your dates and your ship and plunked down your money doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels until your embarkation day rolls around. Here, what you need to consider before you set sail.

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Disney Wonder in Alaska / Disney / Disney Cruise Line
Elsa and Anna's Coronation
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1. See what has to be booked in advance.

Lots of things on Disney cruises, from the Princess tea to the cabanas on the private island and dinner at Palo, book up long before passengers walk up that gangway. Find out when you can start making reservations — it’s based on your cabin category — and don’t delay. And don’t think this just applies to experiences with a price tag: complimentary events, such as the Frozen princess meet-and-greet, also require tickets that go fast.

Lots of things on Disney cruises, from the Princess tea to the cabanas on the private island and dinner at Palo, book up long before passengers walk up that gangway. Find out when you can start making reservations — it’s based on your cabin category — and don’t delay. And don’t think this just applies to experiences with a price tag: complimentary events, such as the Frozen princess meet-and-greet, also require tickets that go fast.

Private cabana
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2. Research what Disney offers before you pack.

Disney has a delivery service that can have baby products, including diapers and wipes, delivered to your cabin so that they’re waiting for you when you arrive. They also have loaner diaper genies and sand strollers for the beach. And, in addition, there are lots of things you can buy, including buckets and shovels on the private island so you can make sand castles.

Disney has a delivery service that can have baby products, including diapers and wipes, delivered to your cabin so that they’re waiting for you when you arrive. They also have loaner diaper genies and sand strollers for the beach. And, in addition, there are lots of things you can buy, including buckets and shovels on the private island so you can make sand castles.

Royal Palace
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3. Get on the same page as your kids.

If, say, family dinner is an important part of the vacation for you, be sure to communicate that to your kids in advance. For families who can’t agree on whether this should be a priority, Disney offers a service that allows the kitchen to expedite their food and the kids’ club staff to pick children up half-way through the meal, enabling parents to finish their dinner and maybe even get a drink before picking the little ones up.

If, say, family dinner is an important part of the vacation for you, be sure to communicate that to your kids in advance. For families who can’t agree on whether this should be a priority, Disney offers a service that allows the kitchen to expedite their food and the kids’ club staff to pick children up half-way through the meal, enabling parents to finish their dinner and maybe even get a drink before picking the little ones up.

Disney Dream's Animator's Palate
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4. Be sure you have requested the right meal time.

Dinner sittings on these ships are “early” and “late,” and passengers with small kids tend to pick the early one while those with older children or none at all gravitate toward the late option, which will give you more time at the pool or on the beach before you have to start getting ready.

Dinner sittings on these ships are “early” and “late,” and passengers with small kids tend to pick the early one while those with older children or none at all gravitate toward the late option, which will give you more time at the pool or on the beach before you have to start getting ready.

Pack essentials in your carry-on
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5. Put everything you need for the first day in your carry-on.

Your luggage may not be delivered to your room until just before dinner time, so make sure whatever you need — from a swimsuit to gym clothes — is in your carry-on.

Your luggage may not be delivered to your room until just before dinner time, so make sure whatever you need — from a swimsuit to gym clothes — is in your carry-on.

Disney Fantasy's "Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular"
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6. Decide how late you’re letting everyone stay up.

Disney has some great evening entertainment, from Broadway-caliber stage shows to deck parties and even fireworks, so discuss as a family how you’re going to handle your schedule and whether you’ll plan to stay on the same one you keep at home.

Disney has some great evening entertainment, from Broadway-caliber stage shows to deck parties and even fireworks, so discuss as a family how you’re going to handle your schedule and whether you’ll plan to stay on the same one you keep at home.

Buccaneer Blast Fireworks
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7. Plan ahead for the pirate party.

Disney cruises have a pirate theme night, so (if you want to play along) be sure to throw whatever you have at home — Eye patches left over from Halloween? A striped top? A red bandana? — into your luggage before your vacation. Of course, you can also buy a few things in the gift shop when you arrive if suitcase space is precious and you still want to take group pictures and, you know, be able to tell each other to walk the plank.

Disney cruises have a pirate theme night, so (if you want to play along) be sure to throw whatever you have at home — Eye patches left over from Halloween? A striped top? A red bandana? — into your luggage before your vacation. Of course, you can also buy a few things in the gift shop when you arrive if suitcase space is precious and you still want to take group pictures and, you know, be able to tell each other to walk the plank.

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