Tips for Sailing on Disney Cruise Line with an Infant – #DisneySMMC

My family and I recently sailed on the Disney Dream as part of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. As an invited participant, I paid a fee to attend and received promotional items from sponsors. The fee covered my stay at Walt Disney World Resort, theme park passes, most meals and a sailing on Disney Cruise Line. Although reporting as a Disney Partner, all opinions are my own.

Disney Cruise Line Infant Tips

I’ll admit I was a little nervous taking my grandson on the cruise. He’s a climber. He’s an EXTREMELY active and curious 13 month old. He can sometimes be a handful. I had horrible visions of him climbing wherever he wanted to go. I’m happy to say, all my worrying was for nothing!

He loved Castaway Cay

One of his favorite things was the sail away party – not because of the music and dancing. Because of the streamers! He laughed one of those really hardy baby belly laughs at the streamers! He also loved just sitting in his stroller walking around the decks.

Now that I have cruised with a 13 month old, I have some suggestions that will help with your planning.

Don’t Over Pack

I definitely over packed! I packed just about everything I could imagine he might possibly need during the cruise. I brought most of it home untouched!

I packed gadgets and gizmos a-plenty – I packed whozits and whatzits galore (Ariel/The Little Mermaid). I tried to predict and be sure to have everything he would need but “the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” (Remy/Ratatouille)! 

Terminal Arrival

Don’t arrive too early. Keeping a little one entertained while sitting around the cruise terminal can be challenging. I would suggest choosing an arrival time as close to boarding time as possible. If you must arrive early be sure to have food, snacks, juice, etc., for the little one. We drove into the port wanting to arrive as early as possible. I carefully made my way to the third level of parking structure since that level gives access to the walk-way into the terminal. What we didn’t realize until we parked was that they won’t open the walk-way until 10:30 a.m. Since we parked at 9:30, we were forced to entertain Seamus for an hour in the parking garage! 

Diaper Disposal

Call Disney Cruise Line ahead of time and put in a request for a Diaper Genie for your cabin. If it isn’t there when you arrive, ask your Cabin Host to get one for you. Your nose will thank you for it!

Stroller

Spend a few extra dollars and purchase a good quality, collapsible umbrella stroller. I saw parents struggling all throughout the ship with their regular strollers. One of my best investments was a good quality umbrella stroller. Space can sometimes be tight and maneuvering around the ship with a large stroller would have been a nightmare. Cabin space is tight also. I was able to collapse the umbrella stroller in the cabin and slide it right under the bed. I couldn’t imagine having to get around a regular size stroller in the cabin.

Sleeping

My grandson is not a Pack N Play kid. First of all, he can climb right out of it. He just won’t sleep in one. Also, space in the cabin again becomes an issue. Ask your Cabin Host for bed rails. Double rails will extend the full length of the bed. We had no issue at all with my grandson sleeping in the bed. 

Take advantage of your surroundings. To say my grandson was a little over-stimulated at night would be an understatement. We were fortunate to have an outside veranda with our cabin. As an adult you know the sound of the ship gliding through the water is relaxing. My daughter-in-law sat each evening on the veranda with the baby and he would fall asleep in minutes. The fresh air, the relaxing sounds, a few minutes of quiet and peace produced a sleeping baby within minutes.

Our Cabin Host was excellent! If he needed to knock on the door, no matter what time, he was as quiet as possible trying very hard to be considerate just in case the baby was sleeping.

Eating

We are fortunate that Seamus is a good eater. If fact, he loves to eat! He doesn’t eat baby food at all. He prefers to eat what everyone else eats. He surprised our servers and table mates on the ship by eating his mother’s salmon steak for dinner! Service on Disney Cruise Line is outstanding and the restaurants will accommodate you and your child as much as possible. They always brought the baby’s food quickly and before the adult meals so the baby wasn’t waiting when he was hungry. They were able to deliver on all of our requests for adapting his food. If you don’t see something on the menu that your little one will (or can’t) eat, just ask.

Don’t Expect Too Much

Keep your expectations in check. We went into the cruise knowing my grandson would not hold up to most evening activities. To say he wasn’t feeling very “pirate-like” is an understatement! 

After afternoons at the beach or splashing around at Nemo’s Reef on the ship, he was definitely ready to go to sleep a little earlier than usual.

If you find yourself cruising on Disney Cruise Line with an infant, be assured that everyone on the ship – from Cabin Host to Servers – will go out of their way to help and accommodate whatever you need – in that special and magical way that Disney does everything!

Are you ready to plan a Disney cruise now? I know I can’t wait to go again. You can get all the help you need with all your Disney Cruise Line planning from Get Away Today (affiliate link)! Have questions about booking – you can call Get Away Today at  877-510-2929 (don’t forget to mention that An Open Suitcase sent you!)




The Most Magical Social Media Conference of the Year – A Pixie Dusted Event That Keeps Us Believing and Dreaming

My family and I recently visited Walt Disney World Resort and sailed on the Disney Dream as part of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. As an invited participant, I paid a fee to attend and received promotional items from sponsors. This fee covered my stay at Walt Disney World Resort, theme park passes, most meals and a sailing on Disney Cruise Line. Although reporting as a Disney Partner, all opinions are my own.

Over my many years of blogging, I have grown a great deal. I know I have progressed in a positive way with the help of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Disney has a magical way of teaching us lessons through entertainment. The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is an annual invite-only event. Attendees are a mixture of influencers that are huge Disney fans and influencers that know very little about Disney. All the influencers have one thing in common – family focus. The influencers are selected by Disney to help tell the world all that is happening in Mickey’s magical world. If you are ever given the opportunity to attend, don’t miss it.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – The Most Magical Social Media Conference of the Year was a land and sea event this year. We experienced all that Walt Disney World has to offer before heading to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Dream for a few days of cruising!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018 Recap

I told you a few months back that I would be attending the event this year – I’ll Be Heading to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018. I was super excited. I was counting down the days. This year’s event was everything I hoped it would be and more! I’m always over-the-moon, super excited when it comes to Disney and I get totally and completely breathless when I get one of those pixie dusted email invitations to attend an event at Disney. Although I share all travel information here on An Open Suitcase, Disney is often the focus of my posts because I want everyone to love visiting Disney too! I have been visiting Walt Disney World Resort since the 1970’s – when the Magic Kingdom was all there was. That is when my love for everything Disney started. My children grew up as “Disney kids”, and my grandchildren are now growing up the same way. Disney is a huge part of our family in every way. My grandson, at age one, is getting ready for his third visit to WDW!

The magic of Disney is sometimes hard to describe. It is feeling your inner child rush right up to the surface, no matter how old you are. After all these years I still get a rush of emotion when I see Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street or when I see my children sharing some of their favorite Disney memories with their children. Everything smells better. Everything feels happier. There is an over-whelming feeling of safety when we are in the Disney bubble. 

Over the years, as WDW grew and expanded, I would sometimes feel sad. For some odd reason I want WDW to stay the way it was when I was young, or at the very least the way it was when my kids were young. It took me quite a long time to embrace the growth and the changes that seemed to be happening all the time. Now, in many ways, thanks to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I look forward to each new change and the growth that gives me more and more reasons to love Disney and more reasons to continue to visit as often as possible. 

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is part learning about all the new and exciting attractions and events on the horizon, sharing that information, learning from Disney experts all about content creation and celebrating family. I have often said that no one hosts a party like Disney hosts a party and the 2018 DisneySMMC was no exception. 

DisneySMMC is a conference for bloggers/social media influencers who not only learn about all that will be coming to Disney, they also get professional advice from a range of speakers from Disney’s PR and Social Media team and from national companies. The event is part press junket and part celebration that includes your family. I came away feeling as if I learned quite a bit. At the same time I felt a sense of “WOW! – I’m doing lots of things right!” What a great feeling!

Through the entire conference, on both land and sea, the focus was on family – creating and sharing special memories!

We saw parts of upcoming movies (I can’t wait for Christopher Robin and Mary Poppins Returns!) and heard updated information on the newest attractions and hotels and I will be sharing as much of this information as I can over the next few weeks.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018
Photo Credit: Disney Photographer Alex Mirabal

We experienced sunrise breakfast in Pandora the World of Avatar . . .

Enjoyed a Pixar Dinner Party . . . 

and a Star Wars Breakfast . . .

and one of the best sail away parties ever!

The experiences and information are still a bit over-whelming! 

DID YOU KNOW?

Each guest visiting the new Star Wars-inspired hotel coming to Walt Disney World Resort will board a starship alive with characters and stories that unfold during their voyage through the galaxy – and every window has a view of space. The resort will be seamlessly connected to the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will allow guests a complete Star Wars experience.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2018, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut “UP! A Great Bird Adventure,” a brand-new show featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney Pixar animated comedy adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will transport guests to a remote trading port on the edge of space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. The land will open at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California in 2019. 

The opening of Toy Story Land is right around the corner! Eleven fun-filled acres, where everyone will enjoy two all-new attractions and one expanded favorite. Guests will whoosh along on a family-friendly roller coaster behind Slinky Dog, take a spin with flying saucers in toy spaceships and score high on the midway!

Through the Magic of Storytelling Campaign you can share a Shelfie! Disney will donate one book for every “shelfie” – a selfie photo with a favorite book or in front of a bookshelf—shared on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling.

OUR EMCEES

I have experienced several Disney events with these two individuals acting as hosts. Each time I am awed by how well they work together – how well they get everyone in the room excited – how much they make you feel welcomed. Leanne O’Regan, Director, Communications and PR, Walt Disney World Resort and Mark M. Daniel, Host (iNside Disney Parks) Comedian – all around nice guy who has a great way of making everyone laugh!

WHO WE HEARD FROM

Bob Chapek, Chairmen Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Terry Cox, Manager, Disney Search Engine Marketing

David Roark, Manager of Creative Photography at Walt Disney World Resort

Amy Stanford, Senior Editor, Babble

KRISTIN BURR, Producer “Christopher Robin“

John Breckow, Director of Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

Tom Warburton- Producer, “Muppet Babies”

  • George Kalongridis, President, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Bob Hitchcock– Disney Parks Editorial Content Director
  • Alex Ruiz- Senior Manager, Digital Content Development
  • Tom Smith, Editorial Content Director, Founder of the Disney Parks Blog
  • Vera Sweeney (Alamo Presenter), Founder of Lady and the Blog
  • Ashley Eckstein, Founder, Her Universe
  • Sharon Siskie- Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy

THE SPONSORS

  • Alamo –  #Alamo #AlamoDriveHappy
  • GoGoSqueeZ – #GoGoSqueeZ
  • Fresh Express – #FreshExpress
  • Joffrey Coffee – #Joffreys
  • BabyBel – #BabyBel #MiniBabyBel
  • American Tourister – #AmericanTourister #ATSpinnermoves
  • Huggies – Huggies
  • H20+ Beauty – #H20Beauty

TAKE AWAYS FROM PREVIOUS DISNEYSMMC’s I ATTENDED

Over my many years of blogging, I have grown a great deal. I know I have progressed in a positive way. Today I went back and read some of the posts I wrote after attending previous conferences. Reading those posts I realized that much of my growth as a blogger is due to my attendance at DisneySMMC

What I Learned About MYSELF at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015 – #DisneySMMC – We are never fully FREE of who we are but it’s o.k. to just be you! I am what I am and that’s all that I am!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – Be Inspired! #DisneySMMC – Be Inspired! No matter how confident or self-assured we are in what we do, there are always many, many others that know more, are much better at it that we can learn from. At the same time there are those less confident and less self-assured that we can help and support. There is always something to learn, to absorb, to understand better. I came away Inspired!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – 3 Months Later – I’m Still Inspired! – I was determined to focus on what I had learned at the conference from other bloggers and from the many wonderful speakers. I was still absorbing much of what I heard and saw but set some goals and timelines for myself. I decided to give myself 3 months to tackle 2 goals. At the end of the first 3 months I would set 2 new goals and slowly work my way through the list of things I was inspired to take on. 3 months sounds like a long time but believe me when life gets in the way, and you have set a timeline you are determined to stick to – 3 months flies by in a second! Knowing myself I knew that I could only focus on one or two things at a time. I am still – 3 months later – DETERMINED and INSPIRED! 




Planning Your Cruise on Disney Cruise Line – What’s Included – What’s Not

A Disney cruise isn’t exactly the cheapest way to cruise. If you book early, you will find your costs lower. You will get the absolute best price for a Disney cruise when the new dates and itineraries are released. When it comes to Disney Cruise Line, I always recommend using a Disney Travel agent who can monitor the prices and get you booked at the best time and at the best price.

What's Included Disney Cruise Line

What’s Included ~ Disney Cruise Line

Lets face it, a Disney cruise is a perfect family vacation and a trip the entire family will never forget. When you are in the planning stages of your Disney cruise, you’ll be surprised at the many things that are included in your fare:

  • All quick service meals on board the ship
  • All table service meals on board the ship (except for adult-only fine dining experiences)
  • Meals on Disney Castaway Cay
  • Room service – order a before bed snack 
  • Character meet and greets
  • Fitness Center use
  • All you can drink soft drinks and hot drinks
  • Unlimited ice cream
  • Live entertainment including deck parties and Broadway type shows
  • Recreational activities
  • Activity centers for the children that provide programming for the little ones
  • Free use of the Navigator APP that will give you access to daily schedules and ship information on your phone (be sure to set your phone to air plane mode). A paper edition of the Navigator will be left in your cabin each night with the next day’s schedule of activities and shows.

Money Saving Tip: If you just LOOOOOVVVVVED your Disney cruise and can’t wait to sail again, you’ll want to save money and get an on-board credit. All you have to do is stop by the Future Cruise Desk during your cruise and put down a $250 ‘place holder’. You will have two years to travel so you don’t have to choose any dates at that time. It’s refundable if you change your mind. The Future Cruise Desk will have all the details on what percentage of discount you can receive, how much on-board credit, etc. It definitely worth stopping by.

What’s NOT Included ~ Disney Cruise Line

After paying off your Disney cruise, you may very well be on a tight budget so it’s good to know what things are not included so you can plan accordingly. Some of these “not included” items are optional so you won’t have to worry about them if cost is an issue. You will still have a fabulous vacation and won’t be surprised by a high bill afterwards.

It may surprise many frequent WDW visitors that Ground Transfers are not included. If you frequent WDW you know that Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary to and from the airport. When it comes to making your way to Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line buses do charge a per person fee. It is around $70 per person round trip. If you book it while booking your cruise, the cost will get added on to the total cost of your cruise. The bus service offers pick-ups and drop-offs at either a Walt Disney Resort or at Orlando International Airport. 

Every cruise line offers Port Adventures and Disney does too! Unfortunately, these excursions can be one of the most expensive extras during your cruise. The cost for optional activities at the ports of call can range anywhere from $25 to $500 per person. Disney does offer a wide range of excursions so changes are you will be able to find something within your budget. There is lots of fun possible on Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, which also includes your meals so there is no need to spend on extra excursions there. Many cruisers also choose to stay on the ship while in port to take advantage of all the ship offers while others go off on excursions.

For adults only, fine dining at Palo or Remy. Both restaurants offer dinner service and different tasting options throughout each cruise. Reservations are needed in advance and both restaurants are considered quite expensive. 

This is a big one! Internet Usage packages are expensive on all cruise lines, not only Disney. My best recommendation when it comes to this is unplug if you can. If you can’t, be prepared forif a high cost. Each stateroom is offered 50MB complimentary Wi-Fi on embarkation day, but once that is used (and believe me it goes away fast) you can purchase one of several offered packages that are really high priced. Also, be sure to put your cell phone on air plane mode so you don’t risk getting hit with a huge cell phone bill a month after you get home.

Photos – Just like in the parks, Disney photographers have a knack for capturing you from your best angle! There are many different packages you will be able to purchase but they are pricey. The ships have photography studios that let you view and purchase all the  pictures taken of your family. Character meet and greets are always a favorite! You can purchase individual photos (around $20 each) or full packages that can cost several hundred dollars. You can also pre-purchase a photo package starting at around $150 and up.

Gratuities – Disney definitely knows how to give guests great service and Disney Cruise Line is no different. You will definitely be impressed with the level of service you receive on your cruise from the servers that follow you from restaurant to restaurant as part of the rotational dining system to your Stateroom Host that gives you your nightly turn-down service (and just about anything else you may need in your cabin), the service will be top-notch. You will definitely want to be sure you take care of gratuities. You can pre-pay your gratuities which is $12 per night for each person in your cabin. However, this amount gets split between all of the staff that has worked with you during your cruise. The cruise line will provide you with a tipping envelope and suggested tips for the different service personnel so you can always add more for a certain individual or all of them, if you wish.  

Cocktails – If you like to enjoy a few of those cute little cocktails with an umbrella while on vacation, you will definitely need to add some extra to your budget for cocktails. You don’t want to be surprised at the end of your cruise with a big bill that you aren’t prepared for. Prices vary and can be as much as $14 or $15 per drink. Since your cocktails will be added to your stateroom’s bill you don’t want a huge surprise on the last day. Be sure to keep track of what you are spending/drinking. You are welcome to carry on two bottles of wine and six bottles of beer for each adult in your party. Be sure to pack a corkscrew to open the bottles of wine since the uncorking fee is high if you let your server do it.

Some Snacks –  Although all of your food is included in the cost of your cruise, there are a few snack options that will cost you. Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats on the Disney Dream offers some great special treats but everything in this shop costs extra and is not included in your fare. The concessions stands located outside the theaters are also snacks that you will have to pay for.  

Spa Treatments – Pirate and Princess Makeovers – Be careful here! You can easily add several hundred dollars onto your end of cruise bill. The spa will easily cost you over $100 or much more and a pirate or princess makeover for the little ones can start around $60 and run up to close to $200. 

Although the Children’s Activity Center is included in your cruise cost, if you have a little one between 6 months and 3 years of age that you would like to leave in the NURSERY for an afternoon or evening of relaxation, there will be a charge. The cost is around $9 per hour for the first child and $8 per hour for each additional child.

When planning to cruise on Disney Cruise Line, you’ll want to be prepared for any extra costs that weren’t included in your fare so your vacation won’t be hampered by unexpected costs – Bon Voyage!

Before setting sail you might want to read about some Secrets of Disney’s Castaway Cay HERE.

What's Included Disney Cruise Line

Are you ready to plan a Disney cruise now? I know I can’t wait to go again. You can get all the help you need with all your Disney Cruise Line planning from Get Away Today (affiliate link)! Have questions about booking – you can call Get Away Today at  877-510-2929 (don’t forget to mention that An Open Suitcase sent you!)




I’ll Be Heading to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018!

You all know how much I love all things Disney. I’m always over-the-moon excited when I get one of those pixie dusted email invitations to attend an event at Disney. A few months back I received an invitation to attend the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration being held in February. I’ve been fairly quiet about my plans to attend this year. Not for any particular reason. I sometimes think my friends and readers may get tired of seeing me gush about Disney so every now and then I stay a bit quiet while I make my plans to once again visit the most magical place on earth!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018
Photo Credit: DisneySMMC

What is Disney Social Media Moms Celebration?

It’s totally and completely unknown how anyone gets invited. It’s pixie dust! The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is an event held each year by Disney for social media influencers, writers, bloggers, vloggers, etc. It’s an invite-only conference with limited space and an invitation is a super huge honor in the blogging community. At the conference you are given a sneak peek into what’s new coming to Disney Parks. That sneak peek is given to you in the way that only Disney can present things – VIP, Over The Top, Fantastic parties, great speakers and generous and wonderful sponsors.

In 2017, and again this year, the conference will be both a land and sea event with 3 days at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando followed by a cruise on the Disney Cruise Line. Invitees can bring family to experience all the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of it all! When invitees are in session, family/friends can enjoy all that the Disney Parks (and cruise line) offer. In typical Disney fashion, sessions are arranged so that there is more than enough time for everyone to spend time together as a family either in “free family time” or in planned events that include all members of your group.

It is not free to attend. There is a lump sum cost for the invitee to attend with an add-on cost for each additional family member you bring along. The cost, however, is HIGHLY discounted.

Disney also holds DisneySMMC On-the-Road events at random cities. The On-The-Road events are half or three quarters of a day and free to attend.

Photo Credit: DisneySMMC

You Can Be Invited to DisneySMMC More Than Once

Just as it’s completely unknown how anyone gets invited, it’s also completely unknown why some get invited several times. I have gone twice before (in 2015 and 2016). Those years the conference was held strictly at Walt Disney World Resort. I also attended one DisneySMMC On-The-Road event way back in 2012.

2017 was the first year the conference was a land and sea event. This year, 2018, I will be bringing along my daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Even though we visit Walt Disney World often, my 9 year old granddaughter is so excited about her first Disney cruise. She is making all sorts of plans for her first time at sea!

So . . . the setting aside of cruise clothes has begun. I’ll admit to being a little overwhelmed planning for the cruise portion since my grandson is only one. Making sure we have everything we need has my head spinning! Regular diapers, swim diapers, diaper cream, baby soap, baby shampoo, bibs, hats . . . it feels like his list is endless!

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty – I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore (Ariel/The Little Mermaid). I keep trying to predict and be sure to have everything he will need but “the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” (Remy/Ratatouille)! 

I know once it’s time to hit the road for DisneySMMC, the excitement – the joy – the anticipation – will have been stretched to it’s limits and we will have a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah trip!

I know when this years conference is over, I will come away with more tips and lessons to help me grow, and will have some really great Disney memories with my grandchildren!

Take Aways from Previous DisneySMMC

Over my many years of blogging, I have grown a great deal. I know I have progressed in a positive way. Today I went back and read some of the posts I wrote after attending previous conferences. Reading those posts I realized that much of my growth as a blogger is due to my attendance at DisneySMMC. Disney has that magical way of teaching us lessons through entertainment.

What I Learned About MYSELF at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015 – #DisneySMMC – We are never fully FREE of who we are but it’s o.k. to just be you! I am what I am and that’s all that I am!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – Be Inspired! #DisneySMMC – Be Inspired! No matter how confident or self-assured we are in what we do, there are always many, many others that know more, are much better at it that we can learn from. At the same time there are those less confident and less self-assured that we can help and support. There is always something to learn, to absorb, to understand better. I came away Inspired!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – 3 Months Later – I’m Still Inspired! I was determined to focus on what I had learned at the conference from other bloggers and from the many wonderful speakers. I was still absorbing much of what I heard and saw but set some goals and timelines for myself. I decided to give myself 3 months to tackle 2 goals. At the end of the first 3 months I would set 2 new goals and slowly work my way through the list of things I was inspired to take on. 3 months sounds like a long time but believe me when life gets in the way, and you have set a timeline you are determined to stick to – 3 months flies by in a second! Knowing myself I knew that I could only focus on one or two things at a time. I am still – 3 months later – DETERMINED and INSPIRED! 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney




The ABC’s and D of Packing for Your Disney Cruise

Packing Tips Disney Cruise

Packing for any cruise can be overwhelming. We all know you will remember your clothes, socks, bathing suit, underwear and pj’s. Add in a light jacket or sweatshirt and you’ll be good to go – or will you? There’s no need to bring all sorts of shampoo, soaps, conditioners and hair dryers, since Disney Cruise Line ships are basically sailing Disney resorts and will supply you with all of those incidentals. 

A – Absolutely Positively Must Have – Don’t Leave Home Without It Things

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS – Airline tickets, DCL signature forms (if you’ve check-in on line, print these at home), passports (or birth certificates/depending on cruse), cruise documents received from Disney Cruise Line.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE LUGGAGE TAGS – The tags you receive prior to your cruise will tell all those magical Disney people where to take your luggage. When you arrive at port, the magical porters will be able to get you new ones if necessary but why delay getting on the ship!

Any necessary PRESCRIPTION MEDICAITONS

EMPTY GIFT CARD – the stateroom light switch is triggered by inserting your Key to the World card (or any other card of the same size) into a slot inside the door. I prefer to use an empty gift card because if you forget it, it doesn’t matter. If you forget your Key to the World card when you leave your cabin, you have no key to get back in or no way to get on and off the ship.

CASH – Your Key to the World card (stateroom key) can be used for all charging on the ship. But you will still want to tip at times for things such as room service. Some shopping off of the ship may require cash as well. Many cruisers opt for the “pre-paid tips” option but you will still need some cash for tipping. The porters that take your luggage from the car to the ship or room service deliveries are two examples. If you opted for “pre-paid tips” this covers your head server, stateroom host, serve and assistant server. Based on your service you may want to include a little extra in the envelope (with pre-paid tear-away strips) you receive on the last night of the cruise.

CARRY-ON that contains your travel documents and one set of clothing. It should contain anything you may need for the day since you have no idea what time your luggage will arrive at your cabin. Suggestions: swimsuits, sunscreen, necessary medications. Be sure to keep it with you when you hand over your luggage when arriving at the port. Your luggage is delivered to your stateroom in the afternoon, but you’ll want to start enjoying your cruise while you wait for it. Be sure to keep your travel documents and anything needed to board the ship in this carry-on.

DECK SHOES/WATER SHOES/FLIP FLOPS are really necessary. Shoes that are easy to get on and off and comfortable. The pool areas on the ship can be HOT and slippery. I prefer water shoes since they can also be worm off the ship when heading to the beach, where the sand can be hot too! 

SEA-SICK PREVENTION – There is no quicker way to ruin your cruise – If you or someone in your group has never cruised before, be sure to have some type of sea-sick prevention ready and with you. There are many over the counter medications, bracelets, etc. With sea-sickness it’s much better to be safe than sorry. I personally get a sea-sick patch prescription from my doctor and use it “just in case.” It easily sticks behind your ear and each patch lasts 3 days. I put it on before getting on-board so there is never a chance of getting sick. It works like a charm! Of course, I have no idea if I would actually get sea-sick, but I’m not willing to take the chance.

B – Be Prepared – Important to Have – But Not the End of the World if You Don’t 

LANYARD – If you have been on a Disney cruise before and are a Castaway Club member, you will receive lanyards when you check into the terminal. If you have never cruised before, you should really have a lanyard (with a wallet-like pouch) to keep your Key to the World card in while on-board. Your cabin key (and charging ability) will be right where you need it at all times.

PORTABLE USB CHARGER capable of charging multiple devices – cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc. all need to be charged while cruising. However, there are a limited number of wall plus in your cabin so the more devices you can plug into one unit, the better. I personally “unplug” on a cruise but I know some of you don’t. Internet access on the ship can be expensive. If you are “unplugging” be sure to put your cell phones in airplane mode so it does not randomly pick up some internet and you get hit with a huge bill.

MAGNETIC STATEROOM DOOR DECORATIONS – This is really a big practice and big deal on Disney cruises. You can go over the top or simply add one or two little decorations but you surely don’t want your kids to be questioning where their door decorations are as they walk down the halls looking at all the different themed doors. You can find lots of cute ideas on Etsy and depending on your creative talents, can make your door look magical too!

BEACH BAG/TOTE – You will want something light weight to take with you to the pool and to the beach when at Castaway Cay.

SPECIAL ATTIRE/COSTUMES – Dressing up is never required, but if your sailing has any special events, (Pirate night, Star Wars Day at Sea, Halloween) many of the cruisers are pros and very well prepared! You can be as extravagant or as simple as you choose.

FISH EXTENDER AND FISH EXTENDER GIFTS – Fish extenders are cool but also time consuming, can be costly and can also be disappointing. If you want to participate in this practice, search on line for the rules, the tips and tricks and best practices. You will most likely be able to spend a full day reading about it all – searching for your extender on Etsy or Pinterest and deciding on what gifts to buy. Many DCL cruisers participate but many more do not. If finances are an issue (let’s face it, a Disney cruise is already expensive) don’t bother. Although a somewhat cool tradition for Disney cruisers, it adds another level of things to get ready and to pay for when you may already be over-stressed and short on time or money. This is only important if you think your kids or family will be disappointed when they see other fish extenders while walking the halls.

C – Can I Get it Cheaper – Things You Don’t Want to Pay an Exhorbitant Price for So Be Sure to Bring

Just about anything you may need is available on the ship, but . . . at about 4 times the cost of buying it and bringing it from home.

SUNSCREEN – I’m sure you have this on your packing list. Be sure to bring more than you think you will need. It is SUPER expensive to buy on the ship and SUPER DUPER expensive on Castaway Cay. The ship gift shops are closed when the ship is docked so you also won’t be able to buy it unless the ship is at sea. Depending on your destination, sunscreen is definitely one thing you don’t want to be without. A bad sun burn can ruin your entire vacation. 

ALCOHOL – If you want a glass of wine or a cocktail while getting ready for the evening, or even a sip or two mid-day, bring your own. Be sure to read all the Disney Cruise Line alcohol policies HERE to know how much and what you can bring. If possible, bring your own travel corkscrew since Disney charges a $25 corking fee if you bring an unopened bottle into the dining room. You will be surprised (and stunned) how much those cute tropical drinks add up to when you get your bill at the end of your cruise!

BABY NEEDS – diapers, wipes, baby creams – all necessary baby items.

D – DARN! I WISH I HAD – NICE TO HAVE BUT NOT OVERLY IMPORTANT

REFILLABLE DRINK MUGS – What? Drinks from the free beverage stations are great – all day long! The self-serve drink stations have supplies of paper cups with lids and straws but they are small. Depending on your cabin location or what part of the ship you are heading to, you could finish that cupful before you get back. The cruise line wants you to use their paper cups for filling. You cannot fill the mug from the dispenser at the self-serve beverage station. You are asked to use a fresh glass for each refill (a glass that hasn’t touched anyone’s mouth). You are welcome to take their cup and pour it into your insulated mug. You can fit at least two cupfuls into your insulated mug. The self-serve beverage stations serve soda (Coca-Cola products), coffee, tea, lemonade and more. Keep in mind that the soda from the roaming bar servers at the bars, pool decks or room service are charged (at a highly inflated cost) through to your bill so it’s worth the walk to the self-serve station for your refills.

ZIP LOCK BAGS – in a variety of sizes. There is nothing grosser than packing items that haven’t dried yet back into your luggage when leaving the ship. A zip lock bag can also be used to protect your electronics and/or camera in your day bag when off on a shore excursion.

Do you have any special packing tips for sailing on Disney Cruise Line?

Once you plan your next (or first) Disney cruise or Walt Disney World vacation, be sure to sign up for some Mickey Mail for the kids to let them know Mickey is excited about their plans! Imagine their excitement when they receive some mail right from Walt Disney World.