We just returned from our FIRST ever Disney Cruise and spent five nights onboard the Disney Wonder. It was a wonderful experience that I’ll be sharing soon but packing for a family of four was half the battle. I asked for tips on my Facebook page and received some helpful responses (see comments here). According to countless hours of research, it’s not just about showing up and having a magical time. No, there are specific cruise necessities and it’s important to know what to pack for a Disney Cruise.
Sea Bands | Bonine | Dramamine for Kids | Sunscreen | Waterproof Phone Case
Clothespins | Portable Power Protector | ID Lanyard | Sharpies | Double Sided Tape
Filtered Water Bottles | Pre-Cut Photo Mat | Over the Door Shoe Hanger
Most of these items suggested for a Disney cruise were already part of my standard travel packing list, however a few things really surprised me and I would have never thought of or known about. Good thing I did my research.
It’s really important to be prepared prior to boarding any cruise ship as space is tight and your living quarters on board can be become claustrophobic after a few days.
Now I have a better understanding of what to pack and why these items are so important. And yes we used all 12 items on this list.
What to Pack for a Disney Cruise
Motion Sickness Medicine
I wasn’t 100% sure how the girls would do, but decided not to take any chances so I had the them take Dramamine for Kids before boarding the ship. They did great all week with no issues but there are only 8 tablets. I wish I had purchased two boxes just to be safe. They took two tablets the day of boarding and we spaced out the remainder.
I’ve been deep sea fishing and on a Carnivale cruise and Bonine has always worked well for me. I had never heard of Sea Bands until I read this post from Harvard Homemaker. I purchased two packs but didn’t realize until later that each pack has 2 bands – 1 for each wrist. I didn’t end up using but its a great drug-free option for pregnant women.
My husband obtained a nausea patch prescription and I used one the first two days along with taking the Bonine. This was a very bad idea. I was falling asleep every time I sat down by day two.
I felt like I was in a daze and could barely keep my eyes open.
It was ridiculous and beyond annoying so I removed the patch on night two and just stuck with Bonine. I was ok but the rocking of the boat probably would have made me sick without taking preventative precautions.
Suncreen is a no brainer but I’m very particular about brands that are free from PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles. One of my favorite brands is from Sunology. For this trip I tried a few new brands – Babyganics Mineral Based Sunscreen, Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Stick and found a spray sunscreen by Honest.
I’m not a fan of spray sunscreen as most brands are filled with toxins and spraying poolside can trickle over to neighboring guests. We only got one day of use out of the Honest brand because it exploded somehow in transit. I always carry sunscreen in a ziplock bag so it was fine. Must have been something faulty about the cap design as it twists to lock.
One thing to note about brands that use safe & effective active ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide – it does leave your skin white. One way to avoid this is to apply coconut oil first, to help blend in a little easier.
But honestly wouldn’t you rather avoid toxic chemicals and deal with white skin? It’s a trade off I’m willing to take.
Waterproof Phone case
A waterproof phone case goes without saying but it really does come in handy especially snapping photos at the pool or at Castaway Cay. I’ve had great luck with Lifeproof Waterproof Phonecase which most of my family members in Florida own too.
Clothespins for Hanging Bathing Suits
Normally we just throw wet suits over the retractible clothes line in hotel showers, but with four people it’s easy to run out of space. I used wooden clothespins, which are super cheap, lightweight and don’t take up much space in a suitcase.
Travel Tip: Two bathing suits per person is standard and recommended. That gives you a day to dry and rotate.
Portable Power Protector
A portable power protector is always in my travel bag so I can easily charge devices, laptop and camera battery on the road. It’s important to know that the outlets are hard to come by and are not in convenient locations in Disney Wonder cabins. There are two on the desk and on each side of the bed.
Travel Tip: The bathroom outlets are not strong enough for a powerful blow dryer so I had to dry my hair at the “living room” area. This was starting to get inconvenient going back and forth to the bathroom but I made it work. The alternative was to use the outlet on the side of the bed or the provided dryer which would never work on my hair.
Travel Tip: I prefer power outlets that have an extended cord versus a plug sticking from the side. That type would not work well on the Disney Wonder cabin as the light switches and outlets are all together (see above).
In addition to your own electronics you’ll be charging the Wave Phones – devices that allow you to call and text both onboard and at Disney’s Castaway Cay.
Hanging Shoe Rack
This was a really odd one but totally made sense once we unpacked and is 100% necessary. There is very little counter space in a Disney Cruise cabin. The hanging shoe rack allowed me to keep brushes, shoes, medications, snacks, sunscreen, hair care products and all the miscellaneous items easily organized during our stay. I think the key is to purchase a clear version so you can see everything. Most shoe racks that I found (and originally purchased at Target) are canvas with the exception of this one –Honey-Can-Do Over The Door Shoe Organizer.
Travel Tip: I was able to hang ours over the bathroom door which was super convenient while I was getting ready each night for dinner. I would have gone completely insane without having this and our cabin would have been an unorganized mess.
Filtered Water Bottles
Every blog I read recommended bringing your own water bottles so you don’t need to trek to Deck 11 or Deck 9 on the Disney Wonder where the beverage station is located every time someone gets thirsty, especially in the middle of the night. Bring water bottles with you to Castaway Cay too.
NOTE: Water and sodas are provided via fountain stations. There are coffee, hot chocolate and hot tea stations available too. Bottled waters and club soda (not sure I saw canned sodas) are not included in your package but available for purchase. We paid for club soda at the bar.
My favorite brand is Refresh2Go filtered water bottles because no matter where we are or need to fill up, at least we’ll have access to great tasting water free from chlorine. I’ve owned Refresh2Go water bottles for several years and the girls love the 12 ounce Junior bottles – space savers and perfect for tiny hands.
We brought two tall bottles and one 12 ounce which was perfect. I filled a water bottle at breakfast each morning, then refilled before we went back to the cabin. Also designated a specific area in our room as the water station.
Obtaining all the character autographs is pretty much a Disney standard. I read that in the past you could leave a photo mat frame or autograph book with guest services and they would return to your cabin with all the character signatures. This was not an option on the Disney Wonder.
Character appearances are scheduled throughout each day. We had the best luck in the mornings or afternoon. Evenings before dinner get extremely busy however the lines move quickly – it’s just really chaotic.
Travel Tip: Carry a sharpie and pre-cut photo mat (or autograph book) with you at all times. I kept our mat in a ziplock bag so it wouldn’t get damaged. We forgot the sharpies and purchased a marker set from the retail store. These didn’t work as well or and the ink didn’t show up like I expected. Really regret not having my own sharpies. Also, for a photo mat use a different color sharpie for each character if possible. We plan to print a family photo from the trip for each girl’s bedroom and frame with the autographed mat.
Lanyard ID Holder
You will see almost every guest wearing some type of lanyard to carry the Key to the World cards provided to each family member. This opens your cabin door, needed for making room charges, taking photos, etc. I was in charge of mine and the girls that I carried around in my Coach ID Holder – dating back to my days planning corporate meetings. It’s much more chic than a plastic version but you can find alternative options here or Disney options here.
Decorating Cabin Doors
Many guests decorate their cabin doors for the kids. I wasn’t sure how elaborate this would be but we saw everything from custom Disney Cruise door magnets to personalized fish extenders. Never did figure out what that was about but we kept things simple and had the girls make a few signs before the trip.
I brought magnets as the cabin doors are made of steel, but these weren’t secure the artwork so luckily we had tape with us too. Would have preferred to double sided tape but we made it work.
Travel Tip: There will be plenty of time in the kids club to create signs for your cabin door too. It also helps kids easily identify which cabin is yours should they forget the actual number.
Other Things to Pack for a Disney Cruise
Another item I never leave home without are travel snacks. I packed Skinny Pop (6 pack), Pirate Booty (6 pack), Pistachios, Coconut Chips and Granola Bars. There is no shortage of food at ANY time during a Disney Cruise but sometimes you just need a little something rather than running up to the pool deck for unlimited ice cream, pizza, pretzels, chicken fingers, french fries or the buffet restaurant. There is also 24 hour room service available.
Watches (for each Family Member)
There are absolutely no clocks anywhere and it was easy to lose track of time. The problem with not knowing the time? There are activities (character appearances) and something occurring every hour of the day!
It would have helped tremendously to bring a watch for each family member (preferably waterproof). I looked at Target before we left and had no luck finding anything for the girls, but Harvard Homemaker recommended this site for affordable kid watches.
We relied on our phones but after a few days it was annoying not wearing a watch.
I forgot to bring extra ziplock bags and it came back to bite me. After the sunscreen exploded in my largest baggie I was down one. We also needed bags to store dirty clothes and a bag to bring home all our wet bathing suits. Fortunately we overnighted in Miami the night before boarding so I grabbed the plastic laundry bags from the hotel. Don’t forget to bring a few extra bags!!
You are allowed to bring two bottles of wine or champagne or six beers on board and pay a corkage fee at dinner. We decided to purchase a three bottle Premium wine package ($145) that I drank throughout the week by myself. The wait staff will transfer your wine (even open bottles) to the next evening and whatever restaurant you are assigned. Each night you rotate restaurants that are pre-assigned and confirmed when you board the ship.
It just seemed like a hassle to bring your own and I wasn’t comfortable packing a suitcase and paying baggage fees just for wine. Read more about Disney Cruise Line’s Alcohol Policy.
Another great tip is to bring a Pirate costume for the Pirate Party. Our cruise had one and I wasn’t about to be the odd family out by not dressing up.
I found an adult pirate belt with a red fabric sash and a black faux leather belt and gold metallic plastic skull medallion at Party City for $10. To save money and get away with purchasing two, the adults wore the leather belts and the girls wore the red sashes tied around our waists. Our bottoms were black leggings and shorts.
Disney leaves pirate themed bandanas in everyone’s state room for each family member during the day. Super cute but be prepared – these are somewhat small! Read more about the Pirate Party here.
Our pirate costumes turned out so cute and we looked awesome but we didn’t get one single photo that night. I was heart broken! My only advice is to get ready as early as possible and go to the main lobby for photos before going to the party. Still mad at myself!
The Pirate Party is on the pool deck hosted after the early dinner seating and before late dinner seating (in between so everyone can attend). We had the late dinner seating and not knowing what to expect, we made the mistake going directly from our cabin to the party which is outside. It was already dark, thousands of people around and the girls ran off to the kid zone to get their dance on.
We didn’t see them until it was over. It was also so incredibly windy so by the time we made our way inside everyone looked like a hot mess! We debated on whether to change before dinner but after a few cocktails decided what the heck and stayed in costume.
Here’s a glimpse at how crazy it is! So fun. Mickey even zip lined from the top of the boat to the stage.
This was one of the best nights of the trip. Most everyone dressed up in some capacity or at least wore white shirts (polo, button down, flowy, etc) with black shorts, leggings and the provided pirate bandana. There were a ton of Harvard Homemakers DIY pirate costumes on board. Apparently we all read the same post on Pinterest!
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Have you taken a Disney Cruise; any tips you’d like to share? Would love to hear what items you think are important to bring on this type of trip!
Click on the printable Disney Cruise Travel Checklist to download for easy packing!
Note: This post was not written on behalf of Disney Cruise line and I do not benefit in anyway for sharing our experience. This post does obtain affiliate links. If you click and purchase from this post I will receive a small commission that goes toward helping run So Chic Life.