Disney cruise checklist: Five items we were glad we had (and five we didn’t need)

Five things we didn’t need:

Snacks. Or any additional food at all! I’d read recommendations to bring snack foods and bottled water, but we didn’t need either one. The water at the refill stations was just fine, and as for snacks, my kids were wide-eyed at the food on-hand at any given moment during the cruise. If yours get hungry before dinner, order a fruit or cheese plate from room service (no charge), and if they need a pre-bedtime snack, there’s always ‘quick service’ options on Deck 11 or again, the trusty room service. Bring snacks for your travel days to and from the ship only!

Mickey Bar on Disney Fantasy

Dressy clothes. I know some cruisers like dressing up for the dinner meal, but if you’re not one of them, don’t worry: only ‘cruising casual’ is expected. There are no formal nights on Disney ships. We brought collared short-sleeved shirts for our boys, and were glad to have them, but could have skipped packing slacks and khaki pants: they wore their ‘nice shorts’ instead and looked just fine.

Cell phone. If you need to have it pre and post-cruise (as I did), be sure to turn it off (or put it in airplane mode) once you leave land while on the Disney Dream or Disney Magic. Internet connection is spotty (though available if needed), and who wants to rack up international roaming rates, anyway?

Cash or wallet for anything other than tips. I never needed my purse the whole cruise, and ended up packing it away. All you’ll need day-to-day is your Key to the World card and a camera!

Fantasy Donald Pool

iPods or gaming devices. Trust me, the kids won’t ask for them, which is certainly refreshing! My kids brought iPods for the plane ride and Disney Cruise bus ride, but after that, we turned them off and stowed them.

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what we needed on a Disney cruise

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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  1. Debbie Burgess says:

    Multiple sized ziplock bags. They come in soooooo handy! Especially the gallon sized ones to throw your wet bathing suit in on the last night of your cruise. Also, they work great for carrying your camera onto the beaches. I always feel like I pack way too many clothes. My advice: pack what you think you want then get rid of half of it.

  2. What a great post!

    We are big Disney lovers in my family, but thusfar that has meant trips to WDW. We would love to try a cruise someday… so really appreciate the tips! All made sense, and got me really excited ;-D

  3. We’ve cruised DCL twice now and have another planned. Pack 1/2 the clothes you think you need, bring a few cable ties, zip lock bags and an over the door shoe organizer. We find it easier to put all the little “stuff” like sunglasses, cosmetics, etc that seem to clutter up the counters in 1 of those.

  4. This was a great help because on the 19 we are going on a Disney cruise and I don’t know what to pack this was a very helpful thanks for doing this website and what is that pool it looks very cool.

  5. We’ve been on a couple Disney cruises and are going on our third next month. These are good tips. One though is a little misleading .. “While you can ask that these tips be automatically included as a stateroom charge, you’ll want cash-in-hand if you’d rather decide on the tip amount yourself.”

    You can always pick the tip amount for the staff on your room charge. They give you little tickets to fill out for the last evening dinner, you charge whatever you feel is correct, no need for cash for these.

  6. Great tips! We are embarking soon and have been crossing things off the packing list as things we can leave at home, but I think I’m going to add a light jacket to our list!

  7. Alisinwnderlnd says:

    What about a shoulder bag for carrying a book, camera, sunblock? I imagine I’d want one.

  8. Alisinwnderlnd says:

    What about a shoulder bag for carrying a book, camera, sunblock? I imagine I’d want one. Anything else?

  9. hollyberry says:

    My husband and I took an 10th anniversary cruise this May (2013) WITHOUT our 3 kids…LOL! It was great, but we’ll be cruising again next month WITH the kids:) I love the suggestions, especially water bottles and a sweater or jacket. My husband got so cold indoors that it was distracting.
    This is what I would add:
    to-go coffee mug if you need more than 6 oz of coffee in the morning,
    a case of waters for the room, especially if you don’t want to run up to the pool deck for hydration,
    a small shoulder bag for your key, wave phone, Motion Ease and gum
    a magazine or book
    Stevia 😉
    Smartphone, if you cruise on the Fantasy there’s a virtual Navigator App now with free wifi for the app
    I’ve also heard you can drop off a pillowcase and marker at guest services on the first night, and by the end of the cruise you’ll have a character autographed pillowcase/souvenir for the kids!

  10. Bodyguard Service says:

    . I know some cruisers like dressing up for the dinner meal, but if you’re not one of them, don’t worry: only ‘cruising casual’ is expected. We brought collared short-sleeved shirts for our boys

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