5 Things You Must Do When Planning Your Disney Cruise + A Bonus Tip
Today marks exactly 3 weeks since we returned from our 3-Day Disney Dream cruise. Since then, I have had many conversations with folks interested in cruising with Disney, and I promised each of them that I would prepare a blog post with tips for planning a Disney cruise. While there are many general cruise-planning tips, some of which I have already shared on this blog, today’s blog post is specific to Disney cruising, and especially short Disney cruises. Why is that? Well, I truly believe, now, from experience, that, with the advice I am providing here, you can get about a week’s worth of pixie dust in a 3, 4, or 5-day Disney cruise!
1) Request A Character Phone Call
When you access your reservation via your Disney Cruise Line online account, you will see an option to schedule a phone call from one or more of your favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie and Mickey, or Goofy. After scheduling your call, you will receive an email with details of what to do when the call comes through.
We scheduled our character call for 9:00 AM on cruise day. I forgot all about the details in the confirmation email that I had gotten about one month before cruising, and I thought that Mickey would be on the other line as soon as I answered the call, so I put it on speaker immediately. However, after answering, I had 40 seconds to initiate the call by pressing “1.” I did so within the first few seconds, and then Mickey came on the line, and my 3-year-old’s face lit up! Our 7-year-old found out about the cruise as we got closer to cruise day, and, even then, he too was excited to receive Mickey’s call. This is a really nice feature offered only by Disney Cruise Line, of course, and there is no additional fee to schedule your character call, so do it!
2) Review Disney Personal Navigators From Cruises Past
If you’ve been following us on Instagram or Facebook, then you’ll know that I wholeheartedly believe that we were able to get the value of a 7-day cruise all within our 3-day Disney Dream cruise because of the planning that took place before we left for our cruise. Specifically, looking at Disney Personal Navigators for the same itinerary we were preparing to do was particularly helpful. Disney Personal Navigators are the daily outlines of activities on the ship, and on Castaway Cay. We suggest making a tentative list of what you would like to do each day based on the information provided in the Disney Personal Navigators from cruises past.
How exactly did we find Disney Personal Navigators from cruises past? We used Google, of course! One of the first links displayed on google took us to the Disney Cruise Line Blog’s Personal Navigator Archives page.
When reviewing the Disney Personal Navigators, I made a tentative list of what we would do each day. I printed that list and took it along with us on our cruise.
3) Use Your Disney Cruise’s Actual Personal Navigators
When we received our actual Disney Personal Navigators onboard, the scheduling was different than the previous ones we had looked at, so I tweaked what I had originally planned to align with the actual schedule, and it worked well. Those tweaks were really easy to make, and I think that, as a result, we got to experience much more than others who hadn’t planned ahead.
4) Wear Swimwear on Embarkation Day
If your Disney ship features an Aquaduck or Aquadunk water coaster, we suggest wearing your swimsuit under your clothes on embarkation day so that you can ride the Aquaduck or Aquadunk, after you get onboard, at a point where lines are minimal because many cruisers do not actually wear swimsuits onto the ship. On our Disney Dream embarkation day, there was a short line when we ventured to the Aquaduck some time around 1:30 PM. We reasoned that, because staterooms are usually ready at 1:30 PM, that’s when most cruisers would go to their staterooms for the first time, and they would not care to be waiting on line for a water coaster. Whether or not that was truly the reason, we were thankful for the short line to the Aquaduck.
5) Ride the Aquaduck on The First Night of Your Cruise
On the first night of the cruise, we sat out on deck, watching the Funnel Vision double feature, Cars and Cars 2, with our 3-year-old son and my mom, while our 7-year-old son enjoyed the Oceaneer’s Club. While out on the deck, we looked up at the Aquaduck and realized that it was still going, and we didn’t see any sign of a line. We quickly made our way over to the water coaster, and found that there was no line! Woohoo!
So, after already riding it once that afternoon, my husband and I rode the Aquaduck twice that night, back-to-back, with no wait whatsoever. It was wonderful to so easily experience the combination of ocean breeze and Aquaduck thrill that night. So before our first day on the Disney Dream was over, we had already experienced the Aquaduck three times! You’ve got to try it!
** BONUS TIP **
Go All Out Disney!
For many of us, a Disney cruise is a much-anticipated family experience, and it costs more than other vacation options. Therefore, if you’ve already paid for your Disney cruise, then I think you should go all out with extras to enhance the magic! For us, going all out included ordering personalized door decorations, getting a Disney-themed manicure, and ensuring that each member of our family had an amazing outfit for the pirate festivities onboard. We walked off the ship with a flash drive of all our photos, and with high quality photo prints as well because we purchased a Disney Cruise Line Photo Package on the very first day of the cruise, and would do so again because we are highly satisfied with the quality of our photos.
So, here’s your starter checklist to go all out for your Disney cruise:
· Prepare for Themed Outfits: Disney Princess Outfits/Pirate Night Outfits/Marvel Superhero Outfits/Star Wars Outfits…
Here are links to some outfit inspiration for Disney’s Pirates In The Caribbean celebration: