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10 Tips for First-Time Disney Cruisers

Jonathan Frontado

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

What do you wish you knew before your first Disney cruise? Last week I shared five things that are helpful to know ahead of time, especially as you’re deciding if it’s the right vacation option for your family. Today, I’m following that up with additional insights to make your inaugural voyage with us the best it can be. Here are my top 10 tips for first-time Disney cruisers …

“Sailing Away” Deck Party

  1. Start the countdown to fun with a phone call from a Disney friend. To surprise your little ones before you leave for your cruise, arrange for a character to call your family. Once your cruise is booked, all you have to do is login to our online Planning Center, select a character and schedule a date and time. Be sure to have your video camera ready to capture the excitement!
  2. Download the Navigator mobile app before you set sail. The Navigator is an all-you-need-to-know information guide for what’s happening when and where on your cruise, and it’s now available as an app on your mobile phone. Download it before you leave home or while you still have cellular service, and the app will connect to the ship’s complimentary WiFi once onboard.
  3. Pack more than a swimsuit. When you’re packing for a tropical vacation, it’s easy to think only about attire for fun in the sun. But the fun onboard doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Bring a sweater or light jacket for the dining rooms, theater and cooler evening temperatures at sea. Also, don’t forget the six must-have items I shared with you previously.
  4. Show your Disney Side. Let your personality shine as you soak up the whimsy of a Disney vacation. Dress to impress during themed celebrations, like the Pirate IN the Caribbean deck party, and decorate your stateroom door with magnets that reveal your family’s fun side. If you leave your pirate accessories and door decorations at home, stock up at the shops onboard.
  5. Plan your character meet and greets on the first day. There are so many Disney pals onboard that it’s helpful to determine up front who you want to meet. Check out the Navigator on embarkation day for a list of character appearances, and be sure to reserve time with your favorite friends through Guest Services.
  6. Party like a pirate. Where better to have a swashbuckling adventure than on the high seas? The highlight of Pirate Night is the Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, but you also won’t want to miss the other themed fun throughout the evening, including family games, special menu items, an incredible fireworks show and a delicious late-night buffet.
  7. Get to the shows early. It’s always a full house at our Broadway-caliber musicals! While there’s enough seating for everyone, plan to arrive to the theater when the doors open so you can pick your seat for the song-and-dance spectacular. Saving seats is discouraged, so use it as time for your family to talk about your favorite parts of the day while you wait for the curtain to rise.
  8. Take advantage of all that’s included. Need extra energy after a full day of fun? Order more than one appetizer or main course at dinner. Want a late-night snack? Room service is available 24 hours a day. Dying to see a new-release film? Head on over to the movie theater. Meals and entertainment are included in the cost of your cruise, so enjoy them to the fullest.
  9. Carve out time for yourself. When you think about all the ways your Disney cruise will make your family happy, think about yourself, too. On the first day, spend time with your kids in the youth club during Open House so you can have peace of mind knowing how much fun they’ll have there while you are enjoying dinner at Palo or a treatment in the spa.
  10. Don’t over plan. Part of the fun of a Disney cruise are the spontaneous activities, like jogging with Goofy on deck four or hearing the live band play your favorite song by the pool. The crew is always looking for ways to surprise and delight our guests, and it’s in those moments that you’ll feel most grateful for this magical vacation with your family.

Seasoned Disney cruisers, what would you add to this list?

Comments

  • Sarah-from what I can gather, the cabanas run around $500 for the 8 hrs. you are at Castaway Cay. And, unless you are a gold or platinum Castaway Cay member, chances of getting one aren’t very good.

  • How much is a cabana at cast away key and how can I reserve one?

  • Insider tip: Ask about the Princess Breakfast after boarding. This is one of those ‘best kept secrets” experiences that is never announced and will not appear in the Navigator. This special breakfast is entirely complimentary and offered on most cruises on all four ships. Have your photo taken, get an autogragh and chat with a Disney Princess! A reservation is required and space is limited.

  • Bring a bottle or cup with a lid for the soda station. The provided cups are child sized and not large enough for most adults.

  • I’d suggest renting a cabana at Castaway Key (if you can) – its very worthwhile, and nice to have a less-occupied and private area of the beach for you and your family to play on.

  • Just got back from my first-ever Disney Cruise Line vacation, and I think we managed all but one of these. They’re right on the money!

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