MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises
Almost 3 years ago, after our very first Disney Cruise, I wrote a post that has gone on to please the Pinterest Gods and is frequently one of my most-read posts in any given month. That post told you about 8 cool things to do on a Disney Cruise. It’s a great starter post for the beginner Disney Cruiser (much as we were beginner DCL’ers at that time). We have now logged 3 Disney Cruises and yes, our deposit is down for a future 4th cruise. We love Disney Cruise Line that much!
Bob and I brainstormed up a fantastic NEW list of cool things to do on Disney Cruises. These are completely different than the suggestions in our first list and I am really excited to share them with you!
Without further ado, here are 15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises!
1. Buy a popcorn bucket at the beginning of your cruise, enjoy cheap refills for rest of the trip. Alright. I have mentioned this no less than 10 times before on the blog: I absolutely LOVE fresh popped popcorn. I love it. Some might call be obsessed. No matter. It’s amazing. If YOU love fresh popped popcorn, I’m happy to tell you that you can find some on Disney Cruise ships. However, this is not included in the cruise fare, it’s an extra purchase and requires a swipe of that handy dandy Key to the World Card that also opens your cabin door. Here’s how to save on popcorn:
- First of all, if you know that you’ll likely enjoy more than one bucket of popcorn during your trip, purchase your souvenir bucket early, like day 1.
- On our most recent cruise the souvenir bucket was $8.34. That’s for the bucket (yours to keep) and the first fill up of popcorn.
- Refills (unlimited) are just $1.73. We usually added a small ($.50 or so) gratuity with each refill.
- Bring popcorn containers (we got the ones pictured below at Dollar Tree!). Ziploc bags would work great, too. We would take our bucket to a show and get a refill. Then I split the refill into the kids’ containers and went back for a 2nd refill. For less than $4 we all had popcorn to enjoy.
2. Enjoy a brunch or dinner at Palo or Remy. If there is one time that I highly suggest dropping the kiddies off at the kids’ club, it’s get dressed up for some delicious food while enjoying some adult conversation. We have only eaten at Palo, not Remy, so that is what I will tell you about. On the Dream, we enjoyed brunch at Palo. On the Magic, we enjoyed dinner at Palo. Some quick tips regarding Palo:
- Reservations are HIGHLY recommended. We made our dinner reservation for Palo the same day our booking window opened for Port Adventures, etc.
- If you cancel your reservation, you might be charged a cancellation fee (I believe it was around $30). Apparently this rule is not set in stone – we had a brunch reservation at Palo for the end of our cruise last fall but Bob was feeling a bit seasick as we crossed the choppy Atlantic Ocean. We cancelled a few hours before our reservation but did not receive a charge on our stateroom account.
- Dining at Palo costs $30 per person for brunch or dinner. Gratuity and alcohol are additional. Our bill came to right around $120 for two people, a glass of wine each, and tip. We made sure to tip based on a more expensive meal because the experience and superior level of service we received was first class, all the way.
- Leave at LEAST two hours for your meal. Palo is more than a meal – it’s truly an experience. You need to plan for at least a couple of hours to enjoy the various courses and not feel rushed.
- Kids’ Club/Nursery staff will ONLY interrupt your meal in an extenuating circumstance. Disney Cruise staff really go out of their way to make sure you enjoy a meal that is free of distractions. Unfortunately during BOTH of our Palo experiences, Mr. Landon saw fit to require some attention and we were notified on our Wave phone. The first time it was just before enjoyed our after-brunch coffee and we got a message that he was upset and they were trying to calm him down. He was only 5 months old and not used to not having mom or dad around, so we skee-daddled pretty much right away and picked him up from the nursery. During the last trip we were sipping on our coffee and actually joking that Landon had kept it together this time (now 3 years old) and we were able to stay for our whole meal. At almost that exact moment, the text message on the Wave phone went off that he bumped his head and had been given an ice pack. LOL! This kid! We headed out to pick him up and he was already back to playing by the time we got there.
- Ask your servers for their recommendations. The servers at Palo are INCREDIBLY knowledgeable on the entire menu, the wine list, everything. Several times we asked for our servers’ recommendations and were not disappointed with their suggestions!
- Can’ t decide between apps, entrees or desserts? You can request pretty much whatever you want on the menu and they will do their very best to accommodate. For example, after I had trouble decided what starter I wanted, our server brought samples to the table of the other choices I had been considering so that I could still try them.
3. Order cookies and milk before bedtime from room service! Don’t forget that 24-hour room service is included with your cruise fare. We ordered cookies and milk a couple of nights before getting ready for bed. A fun “we’re on vacation!” tradition for sure.
4. Watch a movie on the Funnel Vision screen. Check the Funnel Vision schedule in your daily Navigator (paper or app version) to see what movies will be playing on the big screen. We saw Disney favorites playing every time we walked by or went to the pool. We happened to be on the ship during the World Series, and watched Game 7 when the Chicago Cubs won, on the huge screen.
5. Check out a first-run Disney movie in the theater. When you’re on a Disney Cruise, they can play first-run Disney and Marvel movies in their movie theater because, well, they OWN them! We took the kids to see Finding Dory during our last cruise. The cruise before that was Frozen , the Sing-along version. Marvel fans were treated to the brand new Marvel movie the night BEFORE it opened in theaters back on land – thanks to special permission from Marvel.
7. Encourage your kiddos to participate in the “Friendship Rocks” show at the end of the cruise. This fun celebration is open to all kids via Oceaneer’s Club. They get a FREE t-shirt for participating, get to sing and dance on the theater stage AND (!!!) Mickey and another character or two make an appearance on stage. Check your Navigator schedule to see when the kids need to report to participate. There is usually an hour or two practice before the actual show. Family can take a seat before the show in the theater and enjoy the performance.
8. Don’t miss your second rotational seating at Animator’s Palate – you get to see your own drawing come to life! In my Disney Magic cruise review from our first Disney Cruise, I explain in detail what Animator’s Palate is all about and what to expect in the Disney Magic’s version of this restaurant. When you are on a sailing that lands you at AP for dinner for a 2nd night during your cruise, you get to design a person on a placemat. Your server will collect your drawings and during the show at the end of the meal, everyone’s designs show up on the big screens as animated figures!
9. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other special milestones on your cruise. When you book your Disney cruise, there is usually a spot on the form (or you can tell your travel agent) if you will be celebrating anything special during your trip. This is not limited to celebrations that are actually ON your cruise dates! We put down that we were celebrating Landon’s 3rd birthday and Lily’s 8th birthday (both a month before we cruised) and our 10th wedding anniversary (many months before our cruise). We received special certificates one day on our door and then received special desserts throughout our cruise. One night our servers even sang to us!
10. Ask for NOTHING for dessert. You might get JUST what you asked for!
11. Go see a specialty show (and the theme-ing around the ship!) like Tangled (Magic), Aladdin (Fantasty) and Frozen (Wonder). When we were on the Disney Magic we were THRILLED to get the chance to see the fairly new show, Tangled the Musical. I love the movie Tangled, it’s actually my favorite Disney movie. The show itself was FABULOUS and so well done! We were so happy to learn that there would be an earlier showing of Tangled, in the afternoon. We had main seating for dinner (5:45 pm) and our nightly show was at 8 pm. There were several nights when we were just too tired to make it to the nighttime show. I was worried that this would happen on Tangled day, but we were pleasantly surprised to see the afternoon showtime as an option.
On the day that Tangled the Musical plays on the Disney Magic, O’Gills Pub is transformed into The Snuggly Duckling from Tangled, complete with a sing-along!
12. Make reservations in advance for any character dining offered on your ship. When your booking window opens up for your sailing, you will be able to make reservations for any character meals taking place during your cruise. On our cruise they offered a Disney Junior Character Breakfast.
This meal was GREAT! We arrived at Animator’s Palate and were shown to our seats. We enjoyed breakfast while several Disney Junior characters circulated the room. Sofia the First, Jake and Mickey Mouse all stopped at our table and we had time for pictures with each one. This was included in the cost of our cruise and did not cost anything extra.
13. Consider booking a holiday-themed Disney Cruise. We actually got to double dip holidays on our cruise which was AWESOME. Our sailing left NYC on 10/29/17 and was billed as a Halloween on the High Seas Sailing. There were lots of Halloween themed activities leading up to Halloween and on 10/31 the kids got to trick or treat on the ship, we attended Mickey’s Mousekerade Party and more. It was so much fun!
On 11/2 when we returned to the ship late at night after a marathon day in the Parks, we were delighted to find that the entire ship had been transformed to Christmas!
14. Don’t miss the Sail Away Celebration as your ship sets sail. Head up to the top deck for the Sail Away Dance Party late afternoon/early evening on your first day on board. Party with Disney cast members and enjoy music and dancing as your ship departs from its port. Mickey and his friends make an appearance towards the end of the party as well.
When we sailed out of NY Harbor we were treated to the most incredible sunset that seemed to hit its peak JUST as we passed the Statue or Liberty!
15. Participate in a 5k on Castaway Cay and get a cool medal. If your Disney Cruise has a stop in Castaway Cay, you can sign up to run or walk the Castaway 5k. All participants receive a medal at the end of the race. If the weather fails to cooperate and your ship can’t dock on the island, the race will be run on the ship.
Fellow Disney Cruisers, I’d love to hear what cool things YOU have discovered on your Disney Cruise(s). Feel free to drop me a comment below with your faves.
This post is just a taste of my Disney Cruise posts – make sure you take a look and PIN your favorites for later!