Disney cruising with small children can be fun with a little planning and these special tips. Disney, unlike other cruise lines, caters to kids. Of course that doesn’t mean that adults can’t have fun too! If I had to give any advice I would say: be flexible, don’t try to do everything in one day, and remember that making these magical memories is the most important thing.
1. What To Pack Before You Go
If you will be attending any of the themed parties you will need an outfit for each one. Also, if you want some great pictures make sure to buy some Disney princess dresses on land. Once you are out to sea they are way more expensive. Keep an eye on sales through the Disney Store website. Sometimes you can get really nice dresses for cheap. If you are taking your son and can afford it, buy a tuxedo for picture opps. The characters, especially the princesses, really adore this. Another great item to pack is new pajamas, Disney themed of course. It can help kids that are over stimulated look forward to bed. If you want, pack little goodie bags for each night. You can sneak back to the room and leave them on the pillows.
2. Be Flexible
It is going to happen, no buts about it. Your kid is going to meltdown at least once during the cruise. I have seen even the best mannered children meltdown. They can’t help it, it just happens. They are over stimulated, running from activity to activity, and on the go most of the day. It is actually enough to make even the grown ups have a meltdown. Just remember to be flexible. If your child is not in the mood to meet Elsa, just let it be. There will be other chances to meet her and your child may be in a better mood then. Don’t force the issue and everyone will be much happier.
3. Don’t Get Off The Ship At Every Port
Ports are fun and you get to see everything but so is staying on the ship. The pools, etc. are a lot less crowded when everyone is ashore. It is the perfect time to roam the ship and look at the decor. Want to go on the waterslide? It is a lot more fun when there are only a few people! Staying onboard is a great way to relax and spend some quality family time.
4. Don’t Skip Pirate Night
Everybody gets decked out for Pirate Night! The kids, the characters, and the adults! Make sure you bring enough pirate gear for everyone and practice your Ahoy Matey! Don’t want to go in a full costume? Bring a bandana, pirate themed t-shirt, and pants!
5. Don’t Kill Yourself Trying To Meet The Characters The First Day
It is a natural instinct to run your child around the ship to meet all the characters the first day. Try to refrain from doing this. The characters are there all week and they rotate throughout the ship. They even have different costumes during different days. The lines are much shorter after the second day and it is easier to meet them. It can mean the difference between that once-in-a-lifetime shot or the meltdown from hades.
6. Find A Dance Party
If your kids are a bundle of energy or maybe they just love to dance, find a dance party. You can find one at several places on the ship with different characters. They really go all out with the music and the characters make it really fun. It is a great way to burn off some energy before dinner or bed.
7. Do Sit-Down Dining
Don’t be afraid of sit-down dining. It is very kid friendly and they have a lot of options for your little eaters. If you have certain requests, please make sure to let your servers know. Also, try to keep the rules the same on the ship as they are at home. That way the transition when you get home isn’t so rough. There is nothing worse than having your child say “But I could do it on the ship.”
8. Take In the Shows
The nighttime shows are very friendly so don’t skip them because you are afraid your child will be disruptive. They are very entertaining and attention grabbing. We saw ages 2 and up having the time of their life. No other cruise line does entertainment like Disney does, so please don’t miss it!
9. Don’t Miss The Buffets
The buffets are perfect for little kids. They can choose what they want to eat and you can dish out just a little. It is also a great way to get them to try new foods without being in a sit-down environment. My favorite thing is getting a plate of fresh fruit, a slice of pizza and a cold drink then hitting the pool. The kids graze off the plate while swimming and having fun in the sun.
10. Have Room Service and A Movie
We do this the last night and it makes it special. Room service is free and so are the Disney classic movies. Head back to your room, order room service, jump in your jammies, and enjoy the show. You can of course do this any time. If your child is tired and cranky this may be the perfect way to chill things down a little.
You should plan your cruise like you do your days in the park. But also keep in mind, like the parks, things can change depending on your child’s mood that day. Take everything in stride and you will have a vacation to remember!