Thinking about cruising with little ones, but need some helpful advice for smooth sailing at sea? The Disney Parks Moms Panelist Disney Cruise Line specialists are here to give you their best tips and suggestions for a wonderful family vacation at sea.
Kick off the fun before you even set sail. “Schedule a surprise Character Call from Captain Mickey and his crew to let your kids know that he’s so excited to sail with them soon,” suggest Marcy. “My kids love getting the call from their favorite mouse announcing the trip. It’s a magical moment to videotape for sure!” You can also download the “My Disney Cruise Adventure” book from DisneyCruise.com. This handy activity book is fun for little ones before, during and after the cruise!
Next, start packing! “When you pack for your little ones, I suggest comfortable, lightweight clothes for the day time with closed toed shoes that have good traction for the pool deck,” says Nancy. “Laundry rooms are available on each ship so, bring along a small collapsible hamper if you want to run a few loads of wash for a nominal fee (detergent and fabric softener available for a small charge as well). I also suggest having something like Shout wipes handy, especially if you don’t plan on doing laundry onboard. It may be several days before you get to the dirty clothes.”
And when you are making that packing list, Beth recommends bringing a stroller onboard for little ones. “Disney Cruise Line does have a limited number available on a first-come, first-served basis to use once onboard, but having one to use in the Cruise Terminal during Cruise Check-in and after your voyage is super handy,” she explains.
Beth also advises parents to travel light around the ship while enjoying the days at sea. “It took me a couple days into our first cruise with my son to realize that there is no need to carry everything in the diaper bag while strolling around deck or splashing in Nemo’s Reef; our stateroom is always just a short walk away from any point onboard. If he needs something that we left behind, we can always head back to our stateroom with ease and grab it.”
Although every Disney Cruise Line sailing has more food than one person could ever eat, kiddos can sometimes be a bit picky, so Nancy says why not bring your own snacks! “I recommend bringing along a few of your sailor’s favorite snacks like goldfish or Cheerios (pre-packaged) from home to have in your stateroom and when you head ashore,” she says. “It’s nice to have a stash on hand especially if he/she is a picky eater. When my son was younger, I also brought a few of his sippy cups along with a bottle cleaner and a small container of dish soap to rinse them out in the bathroom sink. Room service can deliver milk and juice each day that can be kept chilled in the stateroom refrigerator.”
The little ones are set, but what about Mom and Dad? Marcy reminds parents to make time for themselves too while enjoying a Disney cruise. “While the little ones have a blast in the Youth Clubs, Mom and Dad can sneak away for some adult time,” Marcy said. “My husband and I love dining at Palo and Remy, the two adult exclusive restaurants onboard. And who doesn’t want some relaxing time at the adults only Quiet Cove Pool while the kids are fully entertained at Pluto’s Pajama Party, Toy Story Boot Camp, and fun in Pixie Hollow at the clubs?”
Nancy also suggests taking advantage of “it’s a small world” nursery. “Reservations can be made online once the online booking window opens for a nominal hourly fee.” she says. Nancy encourages parents to go by the first afternoon and introduce your child to the space, ask questions and get to know the wonderful youth counselors who will be taking care of your little one.
For more Disney Cruise Line tips for traveling with little ones, or to ask questions about planning you upcoming Disney vacation, be sure to visit DisneyParksMomsPanel.com for personalized response from our knowledgeable panel.