What your family should know before your 2023 Disney Cruise
So you’re thinking of booking a Disney cruise?
Here’s what to expect, plus some family-friendly tips on making the most of your time.
If you’ve never been on a Disney cruise with your family, it can seem… overwhelming.
There are so many things to consider and as a parent, we feel we need to make sure everyone is prepared for everything and can have a great time.
Especially since cruises are a unique type of vacation.
Plan to arrive early
If you have kids, you know that getting anywhere involves plenty of delays and stress (whether it’s tantrums, getting distracted or even car seat issues).
So if you’re flying into the port city, consider arriving the day before and staying at a local hotel overnight. Yes, it’s an added few dollars, but it might be worth it to avoid the stress of flying in on the same-day as embarkation day (the day the boat departs) or potentially missing your cruise due to delays.
On embarkation day, your checked bags won’t be available at your stateroom until laer in the the afternoon, so come prepared in your bathing suits and bring a day bag that has everything you need for the afternoon.
This bag should include: your passports, vaccination records, port arrival forms, as well as sunblock, a change of clothes and diapers (if your little ones are still diapered)
The navigator app is your best friend
An absolute must to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app.
While your room key is referred to as your “Key to the World.”
This Disney Cruise Line Navigator app is your map of the world. It has a map of each of the ship’s decks but that’s not it.
Activity schedules. Firstly, you can use the app to check the activity schedules and “heart” activities your family is interested in, to give you a reminder notification before they start.
App to text chat. If your have kids have their own phones, you can all use the app to text chat with each other, which is great since cruise/roaming packages can get expensive fast (the app works with the free on-board Wi-Fi–even)
Laundry alert. If you’re using the laundry machines on board, you get notified through the app when your load is done.
Use open house hours
Disney Cruises kid’s club is included with the ticket price, which is a huge savings.
The kid’s clubs — called the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab — offers open house hours so parents and kids can check out the space together.
It’s a great way for your kids to know what to expect and can get comfortable with the idea of hanging out and playing with others, letting you get some downtime.
Make alone time
While your kids are at The Oceaneer Club and Lab (ages 3-12 ); Edge for tweens ages 11-14 and Vibe for teens ages 14-17.
Don’t forget you’re on vacation too!
Now you’re free to check out the adult-only sections of the pool deck where you can lounge without any children running around (maybe some loud tipsy adults lol). There’s also some adult-only restaurants that require advanced booking and are an additional cost, but it’s well worth the (quiet!) meal.
Trust me: You’ll want at least one meal that’s away from family noises.
Embrace the fun
Whether you’re a big Disney family or not, let yourself get caught up in the Disney magic.
Take pictures with the characters, decorate the door to your stateroom (it also helps your kids find their rooms more easily) and dress up for the themed nights.
Gotta check out the stage shows.
There are two time slots each evening; one before and one after dinner so choose the one that fits your family’s schedule. They are high-caliber shows with a talented cast of performers.
And before each show your Cruise Director provides scheduling information and updates: fireworks shows, tomorrow’s schedule.
Order your family pictures before your cruise ends
Just like in the Disney Parks, there are tons od character encounters and photo ops on the cruise ship, complete with official Disney photographer!
The photographer will scan your Key to the World so any photos they snap will link to your account, you can view them at Shutters Photo Gallery aboard the ship.
But you need to order any prints BEFORE you before you go to bed on your last night. The the gallery won’t be open on the morning of disembarkation day.
And if you want to save money, don’t wait to order; some special photo package pricing is only be available during your trip.
Have more questions, or ready to book? Visit Disney Cruise Lines