My family loves to cruise, and some our favorite family vacations have been aboard a Disney cruise. Having taken three magical Disney Cruises I am often asked by friends and family for my best Disney Cruise packing tips. So I finally decided to sit down to share 20 things to pack for a Disney Cruise.
In this list you won’t find the obvious things like bathing suits and toiletries, although you clearly need to pack those as well. This list of Disney Cruise packing tips includes things you might not think of that can make your vacation even more relaxing and fun.
If you are traveling with a baby, be sure to check out my tips for taking a Disney Cruise with baby.
This post sponsored by Master Lock.
20 Things To Pack For A Disney Cruise
Plan Your Carryon Carefully
While embarkation begins at 11am, it could be hours before your see your luggage. So planning your carryon wisely is very important, be sure to pack bathing suits, sunscreen, medications, a clean change of clothes, kids lovelies, snacks, etc in your carryon. Anything you might need until your luggage arrives.
TSA-Approved Master Lock
Speaking of waiting for your luggage to arrive. Your luggage will be conveniently transported on and off the cruise for you. That means your luggage will arrive outside your door sometime after you get on the ship and you will set it outside your door the night before you leave and have it will be waiting for you on land the next day. I don’t know about you, but I do not like the idea of leaving my luggage unattended for anyone to riffle through.
A Master Lock TSA-accepted luggage lock is the perfect solution. I lock my luggage up safely with the combination lock and rest easy knowing no one can get inside. If you are flying home, you can even leave your luggage locked for the flight because TAS officials can open the lock with a special device without damaging your lock or suitcase. That’s my kind of piece of mind.
BYOB (Bring your own bottle)
Water, milk and soft drinks are available for free 24/7 on the pool level, but the plastic cups provided only hold a few ounces. I recommend taking a travel bottle for every member of the family so you can refill as needed and always stay hydrated. For kids I recommend Funtainers for adults personalized cruise cups.
Did you know the doors and walls of Disney ships are magnetic? This fun tidbit means you can decorate your stateroom door with magnets (a fun Disney tradition) and that magnetic clips can be used on the walls of your stateroom to hand papers – just like your fridge at home.
Dry Erase Board
If you are traveling multiple staterooms, a magnetic dry erase on each door is a great way to leave notes as to where you are headed.
If you travel with a lot of electronic devices like my family, there never seem to be enough outlets. Disney no longer allows the use of small extension cords (unless medically necessary).Take advantage of the USB outlets for charging by using a multi USB charger so you can plug several electronics into one USB outlet.
Onboard a Disney Cruise you need your stateroom key for everything from your door to getting on and off the ship. The easiest way to keep it handy and not lose it is to wear it around your neck on a lanyard. On your second cruise, Disney will give you one as part of the Castaway Club welcome, but if this is your first cruise, keep track of those keycards with a Disney lanyard.
You’ve probably heard there is a pirate night onboard Disney Cruises. Attire for pirate night ranges from full-blown costumes to simple representations of costumes. Onboard everyone will receive a Mickey bandana, but I recommend a little something else for the whole family — especially the kids. Here are my tips for How To Dress For Pirate Night On A Disney Cruise. I also recommend bringing princess costumes for little girls.
Don’t leave home without them. There is always something that needs to be cut – a string, the tag off a new item from the store and who knows what else. I am always glad to have my travel scissors.
Even though there is food and room service available around the clock, we always travel with our own snacks. Carrying our own snacks means we don’t have to stop what we are doing to find food, and I know my kids will be happy with what I brought for them.
Empty Ziplock Bags
Oh the many uses of Ziplock bags. From grabbing some extra dried fruit and nuts at breakfast to snack on later to packing up wet bathing suits for travel home. Toss a few empty bags of various sizes into your suitcase, just in case.
Another item I never leave home without. Sharpies are good for everything from writing on the aforementioned Ziplock bags to labeling who’s new toy is who’s and even character autographs. Speaking of which, pack an autograph book too. DIY autograph book tutorial.
Pillowcase or Picture Frame Matt
Speaking of autographs, as of August 2015 Disney has discontinued its Mickey Mail service in which you could drop items off at guest services and they would be returned with autographs. However, you can still take items for characters to sign while you wait in line. Autograph books are great, but other fun ideas include custom Disney pillowcases or a picture frame matt to showcase your memories.
The Fish Extender is another fun tradition onboard Disney Cruises where guests leave small goodies and trinkets for one another. You can learn more about how to participate in Fish Extender trades here.
My kids are at the magical age where they believe Mickey Mouse brings all of the treats, but I will tell you a secret – we fill our own Fish Extenders. I know that isn’t quite how they are intended, but for my kids right now it is easier and the magic is alive. Yes, this one is totally optional, but a lot of fun!
Each day of your trip you will receive The Navigator with a full listing of the next day’s activities. A multicolored highlighter for each member of the family can help everyone plan their day. (Clip this to walls for all to see with the magnetic clips mentioned above.)
Do you pin trade? If not, it’s time to start. One of these days I will write a post about how much fun this is for kids (and adults), but in the mean time just do it. Buy a starter pin set onboard the ship or on eBay before you go. And let the kids trade in the shops with the crew, and look for pin trading night with the Captain in The Navigator. It is a great souvenir that also keeps them occupied and on a mission.
I don’t like to be cold, and it can be chilly onboard a Disney Cruise – both inside and outside. It is always good to dress in layers and pack a light jacket for each member of the family, something small and easy to carry.
Master Lock Personal Safe
On land, I never leave my phone behind. At sea, I rarely carry it since it has no service. A Master Lock SafeSpace Portable Personal Safe is the easiest way to keep your phone, wallet and keys safe (and from getting lost). The combination lock allows you to securely attach the safe to anything fixed object in the room that you can feed a strap through. Master Lock is a trusted brand by consumers, and it will help you keep your personal items safe onboard and in any hotels you might stay at before/after your cruise.
I can fit two phones, a set of keys and a small wallet in the Master Lock personal safe.
Suction Cup Hooks
You cannot attach anything to the stateroom walls with any kind of adhesive, but suction cup hooks are a great way to expand your hanging space. Use them for drying in the shower or for hanging up light jackets in the cabin. There are some hooks in the room already, but I always seem to need more. Tip – put one near the door for everyone to hang their lanyards on so you don’t spend 10 minutes looking for them each time.
Hanging Toiletry Bag
Counter space is at a premium in the staterooms, so a hanging toiletry bag is a great way to stash your stuff. You can hang them from the hooks in the room or use the suction cup hooks (above) to hang the bag anywhere you need.
Disney no longer allows over-the-door hanging bags as they mark up the doors. So I hang mine from the shower curtain rod when in use and stow when I am done, and it works perfect.
Master Lock Protection
Master Lock is the go-to security resource and is dedicated to providing reliable, easy-to-use safety and security solutions to help consumers live a more secure life. And knowing your items are locked up leaves you free to enjoy your Disney Cruise or any other travel adventure. Travel Safe with Master Lock.