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Six Must-Have Items for a Disney Cruise

Jonathan Frontado

by , Public Relations Director, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club

One of the perks of my job is getting to join you in sailing to incredible destinations around the world. From my experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about packing for a Disney cruise – most importantly that there are some must-have items you never want to forget. Six to be exact …


  1. Pirate attire – Arrgh mateys! Disney cruisers go all out for Pirate Night, and if you don’t bring your own costume, you’ll wish you had! Bandanas and eye patches are available onboard, but this night is the perfect excuse to pull out that Jack Sparrow wig and those pirate pantaloons.
  2. Smartphone or tablet – Our newsletter of daily activities, the Navigator, is available as a mobile app. You’ll have a list of what’s happening every minute of every day and a map of the entire ship in your back pocket.
  3. Wrist watch – This one is especially important if you don’t bring #2… Most people recommend you leave your watch at home during vacation, but on a Disney cruise, you won’t want to miss any of the planned activities! A waterproof watch is even better so you can leave it on at the pool and during our water ride.
  4. Day bag – Put a few essentials, like a swimsuit, sunscreen and medications, in a small bag to keep with you when you board the ship. Then you can check the rest of your luggage to be delivered to your stateroom later that day. It can also serve as a beach bag for Castaway Cay and extra space to bring home your souvenirs.
  5. Autograph book – The number of Disney characters onboard never ceases to amaze new cruisers. Bring a keepsake for them to sign, and make sure it’s large enough to hold autographs from all of your favorites.
  6. Camera – There’s no shortage of picture-perfect selfie spots onboard and at Castaway Cay! Plus our crew members are always happy to snap a family photo for you on your personal camera.

What else has your family learned to always brings on a Disney cruise?


  • Now I have my starter bag all figured out for our Fall cruise!
    Thank you for sharing all the great tips and magical advise!
    Can’t wait to be on the Seas on the Dream with my favorite Disney Cast Members,Charaters and feel the wind in my hir, Bliss in the Bahamas!

  • In the past 10 Months we have done both the Disney Fantasy (7 nights) and Disney Dream (5 nights). Both are very nice, but a big difference in quality of service, meals and overall experience between the 2. If able, I would highly recommend the 7 Night Disney Fantasy where you are treated like royalty every minute of the day and the food is beyond your wildest dreams!!!! It is also the ship that all Disney Cruise servers and entertainers aspire to be on, and it shows!!!!!!

  • We have been fortunate to receive many autographs from many characters. It is true if they are traveling to/from a destination they might not have the opportunity to stop (often they do though if there are not too many people). At any meet and greets we have always been able to get character autographs. We even had the opportunity in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to play a round of shuffle board with Chip and Dale! It was probably the most memorable experience of our trip.

  • Like Steven, I am always blown away by the opportunities to interact with characters! I would add cabin door decorations to the packing list as well.

  • David – I have been on 15 DCL cruises. Though I do not remember the last time I asked for an autograph, I believe your information is partially skewed.

    The idea of leaving an autograph book (or pillow case) at Guest Services enables MANY characters to sign the book (or pillow case). Generally, the book or case is left for several days to allows multiple signatures.

    With respect to characters roaming the ship … I believe characters are likely on their way to a specific location on the ship for a specific event at a specific time. In the alternative, they may be on their way to their break, or end of shift. Accordingly, they generally do not stop to sign autographs, though they can sometimes deviate, depending on their schedule, and the number of people in the general area. In essence, if they have a little time, and there aren’t too many people in the area, you may have a chance of obtaining an autograph.

    On our last cruise, Donald Duck (my favorite) was walking through Shutters. We asked Donald and his handler if we could get a quick photograph … to which they obliged, but quickly scooted away to their intended destination. As you might imagine, once other guests saw the impromptu photo-op, Donald started to draw a crowd. This is likely why the characters do not generally stop for autographs or photographs. That aside, if you watch the Navigator for scheduled meet-n-greets, you will have the ability to meet characters, obtain autographs, and pose for pictures.

  • When we were onboard 2 years ago, the characters roaming the ship were not allowed to sign autographs. You had to leave an autograph book with the front desk which they would give back to you at the end of the cruise fully signed. Has that policy changed?

  • #1 is always sunscreen!

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