Planning to take a Disney Cruise? These 21 Disney Cruise hacks will help you get the most out of your vacation!
1. Character Call– Surprise the kids with your Disney Cruise by setting up a Character Call. Log in to your Disney Account and schedule a date and time that works best. You can also choose from a couple different characters. The best part? It’s totally free.
2. Board Early– Make sure to choose the earliest port arrival time if possible. You’ll add several hours of fun to your vacation. Even if the ship doesn’t depart until later in the afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy most of the amenities from the moment you board. Plus, you’ll often enjoy a shorter boarding time. (Pro Tip: If you’re sailing out of Port Canaveral, you’ll want to take advantage of this exclusive Go Port Canaveral Homewood Suites Fly Snooze Cruise Package. It’s the closest hotel to the port and offers the earliest cruise transfers at 9:45am for those boarding the ship as early as 10:30am. For more information, click here.)
3. Pressed Penny Souvenirs– Pressed pennies are a popular collectible in Disney parks. While there are no machines on Disney’s ships, you can still get pressed pennies at the cruise terminal in Port Canaveral. There are six designs: One for each of the four Disney ships, one for Castaway Cay and a general Disney Cruise Line penny. You’ll need one penny and two quarters to make a pressed penny.
4. Fish Extenders– If you’re the kind of family that loves goodie bags, secret santa, or cookie swaps, then listen up! Disney Cruise line passengers can participate in an optional gift exchange phenomenon known as fish extenders.
5. Navigating the Ship– If you’ve got a fish by your door, you are on the port side (left, facing forward). If you have a seahorse, you are on the starboard side (right, facing forward).
6. Meet-and-Greets– There will be countless character meet-and-greets throughout your cruise. Disney Cruise Line offers free tickets for the most popular meet-and-greets as a way to control crowds. These tickets work much like a fast pass and guarantee entry at your scheduled time. You can pick up your ticket after boarding at the Guest Services desk.
7. Hidden Mickey Challenge– Ask guest services for a Hidden Mickey Challenge that’s sure to keep you and your kids busy.
8. Decorate Your Door– Cruise ship corridors tend to be very long and every door ends up looking the same. This can make it difficult for kids to find your stateroom. Use magnets to personalize the outside of your door.
9. Navigator App– Make sure to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App before your trip. You’ll be able to check out the daily weather, onboard activities, character appearances and even stay in touch with family and friends through the chat feature. You can even ‘favorite’ events to plan your day and receive 15 minute reminders.
10. BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverages)– You can bring aboard two bottles of unopened wine or champagne (up to 750ml each) or six 12oz beers at the beginning of your voyage and at each port of call. Room service will even bring you wine glasses and a corkscrew upon request so you can drink in the comfort of your own cabin. Just beware that if you choose to enjoy your booze in the dining room, you will be charged a corking fee of $25 per bottle. Apart from alcohol, you’ll also want to pack some bottled water. You’ll need it for excursions and it can get expensive on the ship or in port. You can fill a small carry-on with just bottled water and then on the way home you’ll have an empty suitcase to stuff with any souvenirs you collect on your cruise.
11. Alcoholic Drink Specials– The ‘drink of the day’ is usually about $4 less than the other cocktails onboard. There is a ‘drink of the day’ EVERY DAY (you can find the featured drink in your Personal Navigator). From time to time there will also be unadvertised drink specials. Make sure to check with your bartender to see if there are any ‘2 for 1’ deals going on. If you’re a big beer drinker, for about $15 you can purchase a 22oz Disney Cruise Line glass beer mug and have it refilled for the price of a 16oz for the remainder of your cruise. When you’re ready to take the mug off your hands, the bars will exchange it for a token until you’re ready to trade it in for your next beer. You can even use the mug on future Disney cruises to really get your money’s worth.
12. Free Drinks & Snacks– If you order drinks at the bar or snacks at the concession stand, it will cost you. To avoid these unnecessary charges, bring your own goodies to the shows, movie viewings or even poolside. You can get free drinks from the beverage stations and use room service to get free snacks delivered straight to you door.
13. Bedtime Treats– Keep the magic alive by ordering cookies and milk from room service while the kids are getting ready for bed. What a wonderful way to end the day! You can even order Mickey ice cream bars.
14. Room Service for Breakfast– If you’d rather not go to the breakfast buffet or don’t have time before disembarking on port day, you’ll want to set up room service. You can place your order on cards provided in your stateroom to have breakfast delivered to your door. As long as you get your order on the doorknob before 3am the morning of, you’ll be able to enjoy free breakfast in the comfort of your room.
15. Lightswitch– Every Disney Cruise cabin features an energy-saving main light switch that requires you to leave your key card in the slot to power the cabin. While this prevents you from wasting power, it can be problematic if you want to charge electronics when you’re not in the room. You can outsmart the lightswitch by putting any other similarly sized card in the slot as a placeholder. Just remember to switch the lights off when you step out.
16. Outlets– There are never enough outlets in any cruise ship cabin. Make sure to bring a power strip. You can also find an extra USB port on the side of the flatscreen TV.
17. Lanyard– Bring a lanyard with a clear card holder to keep your stateroom key in. Wearing the card around your neck is super handy for parents and kids alike since you’ll need it for almost everything onboard. The card’s magnetic strip even works through the plastic so you’ll never have to take it off.
18. Clotheslines– Your stateroom shower will have a retractable clothesline. Bring clothespins to hang up wet swimsuits so they can dry faster.
19. Activities– Participate in free onboard family activities such as trivia. Winners often get free Disney Cruise Line swag.
20. Pirate Party– On every Disney Cruise, there is a Pirates of the Caribbean night with a deck party. Bring homemade costumes to partake in the fun. It will cost you a lot less than purchasing pirate gear offered in the ship’s gift shop.
21. One Last Tip– Embrace the experience! Dive into the fun and act like a kid.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared on Go Port Canaveral Official Travel Provider and has been republished here with permission by Go Port Canaveral.