Posted on March 21, 2014

8 Cool Things to Do on Your Disney Cruise

Cool Things to Do on Your Disney Cruise

8 cool things to do on your disney cruise

I have now reviewed our cruise on the Disney Magic (2014 sailing) and our cruise on the Disney Dream (2015 sailing). They were truly fantastic trips – two of our very best vacations ever. In just 3 short nights on board (each trip), we picked up some really cool tips that I wanted to share. Remember – Disney (be it parks or cruise) is one of those trips that it really pays to do your research. The more you read up on tips/tricks, the more time you save, the better trip to you have.

Cool Things to Do on Your Disney Cruise

1. Surprise your kids with a character call before your cruise: After you book your cruise, log into your account on DCL’s website.  Included in some of the pre-cruise activities that you can book is a character call informing the recipient of the upcoming trip.  Choose from a couple different characters, schedule the time and date that work best for you and you’re set!

Mickey and Minnie called Lily to tell her about our cruise and she thought it was AWESOME!

disney cruise character call

Here are the kids getting their phone call at our hotel the day we board the ship.

2. Order Mickey Bars from Room Service (FOR FREE): When you board a Disney ship, you can order room service 24 hours a day. The menu in your stateroom will contain many tasty choices, but there is a well-known Disney treat that can be ordered from room service even though it is NOT on the menu. Premium Mickey Ice Cream Bars can be brought right to your room. All you have to do is ask!

mickey ice cream bars

mickey ice cream bar

3. Download and use the Disney Cruise Lines Navigator appThere is nothing that I love more than a free app that does something cool.  If you do nothing else, MAKE SURE that you download the FREE DCL Navigator app before you board your ship (or as SOON as you board, before you sail away and lose network signal).  This app is available for iOS and Android devices.  Once on board, put your phone on “airplane mode” and then connect to DCL’s guest WiFi.  The WiFi will power this app throughout the cruise.

We found this app to be invaluable!  Character meet and greets, showtimes, dinner menus, deck plans of the ship and MORE – all in the palm of our hands, all just a click away.  It not only saved us time, but it helped us get around the ship and participate in many activities!

dcl navigator app

4. Purchase a starter pack of pins to trade on Ebay: Pin trading – you might know that it’s all the rage at Disney Parks, but you can trade on DCL ships as well.  Kids can trade with various cast members and be sure to check your daily Navigator for “Officer Pin Trading events.”  Exactly as it sounds, kids can trade pins with ship officers.

Pins can be expensive! Save some money by purchasing a set of Disney pins before you leave for your vacation. As always, read seller feedback before purchasing to help ensure you get what you pay for. I bought Lily a starter set of pins on Ebay – 25 pins for $12.15 with free shipping. At 49 cents per pin, she’ll have a blast and I will enjoy knowing that I didn’t spend a fortune.

disney pins

5. Enjoy the Pirate Night Deck Party (and bring supplies from home): Just about every Disney Cruise that sails in the Caribbean has a pirate-themed evening on one night of the trip.  Ours was on the day we were docked in Nassau.  This is also the night that you can watch a fireworks display right on the ship!  The characters (Mickey, Minnie, etc) all put on their best pirate attire and guests are encouraged to join in the fun.  As you might imagine, you can purchase pirate attire in the shops on board.  You’ll save a lot of money, however, if you bring some pirate wear from home.  I saw many kids wearing glow sticks as well.  Pick up a pack at your local dollar store.

I bought a pirate costume, boots and tights for Lily before our trip from Zulily.  For less than $25 for everything, she had a great little outfit to wear.  Bonus – the dress will make a nice addition to our dress-up bin and she can wear the boots to riding lessons.

disney cruise pirate outfit

lily landon mickey mouse pirate-001 disney magic pirate night fireworks

6. Character Meet and Greets:  Just because you aren’t in the Disney Parks doesn’t mean you have to miss out on our favorite photo ops: character meet and greets!  Disney Ships are just crawling with characters to interact with and take pictures with.  While our Disney Dream cruise required tickets to the Princess and Frozen Meet and Greets, our Disney Magic cruise did not – you lined up and they cut the line off at some point.

Disney Cruises are awesome for meeting characters because sometimes you’ll find characters not commonly found in the parks… AND many times the characters are dressed in tropical/pirate/etc costumes that you won’t see anywhere but on a cruise!

disney magic characters rapunzel

frozen elsa anna

mickey pirate

7. Bring travel mugs from home: Drinks (including soft drinks) on your Disney Cruise (except for alcohol) are all included.  You will find an abundance of plastic glasses and also paper disposable cups.  One great way to keep drinks hotter (or colder) longer is to bring an insulated travel mug with you.

We always bring our tumblers on cruises.  We fill them with hot coffee in the morning and add ice cubes to fresh coffee to make iced coffee in the afternoon!

phillies tervis tumbler

8. Decorate your cabin door – they are magnetic!  Cabin doors on DCL ships are magnetic (EXCEPT for Concierge level cabins).  I could not believe how many doors on our cruise were decorated!  Wreaths, pictures, dry erase boards and magnets of every shape and kind were plastered on doors up and down the hallway.

I made each kid a couple of Mickey Mouse shaped magnets – and used my Scotch thermal laminator to make them even sturdier.

disney door magnet lily

disney door magnet landon

disney door magnets

door magnets disney cruise

Pssst…. I just wrote a FOLLOW UP post to this one!!!  Check out 15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises for even more fun things to do on Disney Ships!!

15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises

 

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news – but as of mid-August 2015, DCL is discontinuing their magical “Mickey Mail” service because it has become so popular the characters are having trouble keeping up with the demand.  Understandable, but disappointing. 

Bring items to be autographed and drop them off at Guest Services: I already wrote a really detailed post on how to get autographs without standing in a single line.  But to sum it up, bring up to two items per cabin with you – new pillowcase, photo mat, tshirt, hat, you get the idea.  Drop your item(s) off with Guest Services when you board the ship and they will be returned to you on the last night of the cruise – covered in autographs!

disney cruise autograph pillowcase wm

disney cruise autographed frame

What cool off-the-beaten path things did YOU do on YOUR Disney Cruise?  Share in the comments below!

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  • Shayla

    Those tips are great! Thanks!! I’d order a Mickey bar for breakfast with my first coffee and for a late night snack ;)

    • LOL! I like the way you think, Shayla. I just might have to do that next time! :)

  • Heather (Baby Bump & Beyond)

    Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura J

    OH such wonderful tips!!! I love that you can get a call to your child before you go! How fun!!! I hope we can do one someday!

    • Thank you!! It truly was an amazing trip!

  • TDaniels

    Love the door signs, how did you make them?

    • I found the templates online, edited them with my kids’ names on PicMonkey.com and then printed them. I cut them out, put them on cardstock to make them a tad more rigid and then laminated them with my little Scotch thermal laminator. They came out great!! :)

  • elle

    Going on our 1st trip to the Caribbean. Awsome tips! Thank you so much!!!

    • You’re so welcome – have a wonderful time!

  • Back in March I stressed so much about the pins. I got mine on Ebay and all was fine. Pin trading got my daughter out of her shell.

    • I was so glad I just bit the bullet and bought some – saved money and she had a great time trading!

  • Kristen

    Nothing in the world better than a Disney cruise! I’m really surprised you didn’t mention Fish Extenders, either here or in your cruise review. They are definitely the most unusual and unique thing you can participate in on a Disney cruise. You could write a whole post on that alone. ☺ If you don’t know what it is, just do a search and check it out. Your Lily would have loved participating in a Fish Extender group! Next time, right? And anyone who’s been on a Disney cruise knows there will definitely be a next time.

    • Yup, I know all about FEs! There was a group for our cruise but I felt like it was going to be all I could handle to get us and all of our baby gear (Landon was just 5 months old) onto the ship without worrying about bringing and delivering FEs. They looked like a ton of fun though! If we had done them and I could have written about them from actual experience, I would have included that in this post. Definitely plan to participate in them when the kids are a tad older!!

  • u’i k.

    I’m taking my kids this august… I can’t wait to use these tips! Thank you so much!

  • Pat Cramer

    Great tips. We are going in June

  • ashley

    how did you make these magnets? They look so cool and I would like to make some for my family.

    • I actually just google searched until I found designs that I liked. Then I personalized them in PicMonkey and printed them out. :)

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  • Amber Lillian Jasman

    how did you make the door magnets?

    • MamaCheaps

      I put them together in photoshop and printed them on cardstock. Then I laminated them and stuck magnets on the back. :)

  • Katie Mitchell

    Looks like an amazing vacation! We’ve never been on a cruise, let alone a Disney one. It’s on my travel bucket list. The tumblers are also a great suggestion for vacations to any hot destination. We’ve brought ours to all-inclusive resorts as well.

    • MamaCheaps

      Thanks, Katie! Totally agree – our tumblers come on almost every kind of trip that we take! Almost always nicer than the to-go option at any resort, hotel, ship, etc.

  • Rachel Roberts

    I’ve been on a cruise before, but a Disney cruise is on our family bucket list. Great tips!

    • MamaCheaps

      Thanks, Rachel!

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  • Art

    They were allowing signatures on objects during the special group character meet and greet. You may want to investigate further if this is still true. We had cruised last August the first week they took the signing features away.

    • MamaCheaps

      Thanks for letting me know! We cruise this fall – I will investigate for sure!

  • Michelle

    Where did you get the baby pirate outfit? We need something for my son!

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