13 Tips for Making the Most of Your Disney Cruise Experience

Cruising on Disney is a unique experience that is unlike any other cruise line. From the moment you step onboard, you’ll be immersed in the magical world of Disney, with themed decor, entertainment, and even themed restaurants. It’s important to be a fan of Disney or be traveling with someone who is, as the cruise is packed with Disney influences, including characters and references to Marvel and Star Wars. To make the most of your Disney cruise, it’s recommended to brush up on your Disney knowledge before you go, so you don’t miss out on any of the special experiences or shows. Additionally, it’s crucial to be quick when booking activities and dining options, as Disney Cruise Line travelers are dedicated and efficient. Having a smartphone and downloading the app is also essential for accessing information and making bookings. While there may not be a strict dress code, themed deck party nights provide an opportunity to dress up and fully embrace the Disney atmosphere. Some typical cruise amenities, like casinos and drink packages, are missing on Disney cruise ships. Cabins may not be as spacious as expected, and interconnecting doors can cause noise issues. However, there are helpful navigation tips around the ship, such as decorated stateroom doors and directional cues on carpets. It’s worthwhile to explore the kids clubs during the open house, even for adults. Dining is on a rotating schedule with themed restaurants, and there are opportunities to meet characters throughout the cruise. Wi-Fi is available but can be expensive, and there are adult-only areas for those seeking a retreat from the overall Disney experience. Gratuities are automatically added to the bill, with the option to give extra tips if desired.

13 Tips for Making the Most of Your Disney Cruise Experience

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1. Brush up on your Disney knowledge

Before embarking on a Disney cruise, it’s important to brush up on your Disney knowledge. Disney Cruise Line offers a unique cruise experience that is different from other cruise lines. It is a themed cruise with a strong Disney influence. To fully enjoy the Disney experience, it is recommended to be familiar with Disney characters, movies, and stories. This includes not only classic Disney characters, but also characters from the Marvel and Star Wars universes, as they are increasingly incorporated into Disney cruises.

One way to enhance your Disney knowledge is to participate in the art of the theme tours offered on board. These tours provide insights into the design and hidden details of the ship, and each tour is led by a different cast member who shares their own unique perspective. By going on these tours, you can learn more about the different aspects of Disney and gain a deeper appreciation for the intricate details that make up the Disney experience.

2. Be quick when booking activities and dining options

Disney Cruise Line travelers are dedicated and efficient when it comes to booking activities and dining options. It is important to be quick and proactive in securing your desired bookings. Access to booking activities and dining options is based on the guest’s past cruiser status. The earlier you book, the better chance you have of securing popular activities, events, excursions, and dining reservations.

Booking for Disney cruises typically opens 70 days prior to the sailing date. However, guests with higher status, such as concierge guests and Platinum Castaway Club members, may have earlier access to booking. If you have specific activities or dining options that you’re interested in, make sure to mark your calendar and be ready to book as soon as the booking window opens for you.

3. Download the Disney Cruise Line app

Having a smartphone and downloading the Disney Cruise Line app is essential for a smooth and convenient experience on board. The app serves as a hub of information and allows you to access various features and services offered on the ship. It provides details about onboard activities and entertainment, dining options, excursion bookings, and more.

The app also allows you to manage your onboard account, view your daily schedule, and receive important notifications and updates. With the app, you can easily stay connected and informed throughout your Disney cruise. Make sure to have a smartphone with a reliable internet connection and download the app before you embark on your cruise.

4. Take advantage of themed deck party nights

Themed deck party nights are a highlight of Disney cruises and provide an opportunity to dress up and immerse yourself in the Disney magic. While there is no strict dress code on Disney cruises, themed deck party nights are a great chance to show off your Disney spirit and have some fun. Be prepared to join in the festivities and consider dressing up in accordance with the theme of the night.

Whether it’s a Pirates Night or a Frozen Night, these themed parties offer entertainment, music, dancing, and special shows. Many guests choose to dress up as their favorite Disney characters or wear themed costumes related to the party theme. Embrace the opportunity to be a part of the magical atmosphere and create lasting memories.

5. Be aware of the different amenities on Disney cruise ships

Disney cruise ships offer a range of amenities, but it’s important to be aware that some typical cruise amenities may be different or missing on Disney cruises. For example, unlike other cruise lines, Disney cruise ships do not have casinos. Gambling is not within their family-friendly policy. Additionally, Disney cruises do not offer drink packages like some other cruise lines do. Instead, drinks are purchased individually, which may result in higher costs for those who enjoy alcoholic beverages.

It’s also worth noting that Disney cruises prioritize family-friendly activities and experiences, which means that some amenities commonly found on other cruise lines, such as adult-only areas or enrichment programs with talks, may be limited or absent. However, Disney cruise ships do offer a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment options, so there will still be plenty to enjoy during your cruise.

6. Consider the size and noise issues of cabin options

When choosing a cabin on a Disney cruise, it’s important to consider the size and potential noise issues associated with different cabin options. While some people argue that cabins on Disney ships are slightly larger compared to those on other premium ships, it’s worth noting that personal perception may vary. It’s always a good idea to do your research and choose a cabin option that best suits your needs and preferences.

One factor to consider is the presence of interconnecting doors in some cabins. While interconnecting cabins can be convenient for families or groups traveling together, they can also lead to potential noise issues. If you prefer a quieter environment, it may be best to choose a cabin without interconnecting doors.

Additionally, be aware that many Disney cruise ship cabins feature split bathrooms, which can be a great feature for families but may result in slightly cramped spaces. Consider your preferences and requirements when selecting a cabin option to ensure a comfortable stay.

7. Utilize navigation tips around the ship

Navigating a large cruise ship can sometimes be challenging, but Disney cruise ships offer helpful navigation tips to make it easier for guests. One tip is to pay attention to decorated stateroom doors. Many guests personalize their stateroom doors with magnets or decorations, making them easier to recognize and helping you find your way back to your cabin.

Another helpful tip is to look for directional cues on the carpets. Disney cruise ships often have designs or symbols on the carpets that serve as directional cues, indicating the way to various areas of the ship. Keep an eye out for these cues to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

Getting familiar with the ship’s layout and using these navigation tips can make it easier to find your way around and save you time and frustration during your Disney cruise.

8. Explore the kids clubs during open house

Disney cruise ships offer exceptional kids clubs that cater to children of different ages. These clubs provide a range of activities, games, and entertainment options to keep young guests engaged and entertained throughout the cruise. But don’t let the name “kids clubs” fool you – they’re not just for kids!

During the open house times, adults are also welcome to explore and experience the kids clubs. This is a great opportunity to see what the clubs have to offer, even if you don’t have children with you. The kids clubs are often themed and feature different areas based on popular Disney movies, characters, and stories. Take advantage of the open house to step into the world of Disney and have some fun, no matter your age.

9. Enjoy the rotating dining schedule with themed restaurants

One of the unique features of Disney cruises is the rotating dining schedule. Instead of dining in the same restaurant every night, guests are assigned to different themed restaurants each evening. This allows you to experience a variety of culinary offerings and themes throughout your cruise.

Disney cruise ships typically have three or more main dining restaurants, each with its own distinct theme and menu. These restaurants may include themed experiences such as character dining or live entertainment. By rotating through the different restaurants, you can enjoy a diverse dining experience and discover new flavors and atmospheres every night.

Early and late dining options are available to accommodate different schedules and preferences. Make sure to check your assigned dining time and restaurant rotation, and embrace the opportunity to indulge in the unique dining experiences offered by Disney cruises.


A Disney cruise offers a one-of-a-kind experience filled with Disney magic and entertainment. To make the most of your Disney cruise, it’s important to brush up on your Disney knowledge, be quick when booking activities and dining options, download the Disney Cruise Line app, and take advantage of themed deck party nights.

Additionally, be aware of the different amenities on Disney cruise ships, consider the size and noise issues of cabin options, utilize navigation tips around the ship, explore the kids clubs during open house, and enjoy the rotating dining schedule with themed restaurants.

By following these tips and tricks, you can enhance your Disney cruise experience and ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the magic. Embrace the Disney spirit, create unforgettable memories, and have an incredible time on your Disney cruise!

I learned a lot during my first Disney Cruise Line vacation, and I discovered that many of the tips that work for other cruise lines don’t apply to a Disney cruise. To help you make the most of your Disney cruise experience and ensure you don’t miss out, here are 13 important things you need to know:

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If you want to ensure a great Disney cruise experience, Tips For Travellers is here to help. With advice, tips, and tricks based on my personal experience from the 96 cruises I’ve been on, you’ll be able to plan and enjoy the incredible cruise vacation you’ve always dreamed of.

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