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    15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises

    15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises

    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! Read more

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    16 Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    I have such fond memories of watching the Disney’s original Beauty and the Beast, which first hit movie theaters in 1991.  I fell in love with the music and it was one of the first musicals that I memorized the entire soundtrack from start to finish.  When Lily was born, Beauty and the Beast was one of the first Disney movies that we watched together and since the age of 2, Belle has always been one of her favorite princesses.

    Lily and Belle at Epcot

    Kids with Belle on Disney Cruise

    We love the live Beauty and the Beast Stage Show down at Hollywood Studios, too!  We are so excited to see the live action Beauty and the Beast movie that will arrive in theaters this March.  I am especially thrilled to see Emma Watson take on the role of Belle – that makes the Harry Potter fan in me SUPER happy!

    What better way to celebrate this movie release than compiling a collection of Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas!

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Food

    1. Make “The Grey Stuff” from the song Be Our Guest.  (This recipe is a copycat of the one served up in the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom in Disney World.)

    Grey Stuff Disney Be Our Guest Read more

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    Disney World One Day Memory Maker – Is It Worth It? What Do You Get?

    Disney World Memory Maker Package Deal

    So you’re heading to Disney World!! You might remember this piece that I wrote a couple years ago about how important it is to be present in your family vacation. This absolutely includes jumping right in for pictures with the kids! Of course, the hardest thing about taking pictures on vacation can be trying to get everyone in a single picture – afterall, someone has to take the picture, right?  With Disney’s Memory Maker you can get everyone in front of the camera and get a digital download of every single image.  Memory Maker pictures are all linked to your My Disney Experience account and pictures include candids from rides that offer them and any images snapped by park photographers.  (Make sure you swipe your MagicBand or park ticket after taking these pics to ensure they end up in your account!)

    Memory Maker images are high resolution downloads and include copyright release.

    For years, Disney World has offered photography services that make it easier to get everyone in the picture, but of course they come with a price.  Did you know that Park Photographers are more than happy to take a picture with YOUR camera after they snap one with theirs?  That’s always a nice option, and even nicer, FREE.  Park photographers can be found ALL OVER the Parks and you can locate them on the My Disney Experience app. Read more

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    Disney Cruise Line Vacation REVEAL Video – Surprise Scavenger Hunt – Halloween on the High Seas NYC

    DCL trip reveal

    Every year as the deal season craziness gives way to the January blahs, I find myself with so much time to work on travel pieces, DIY project posts, new recipes and more.  The difference this year is that we JUST completed our most recent Disney trip in November.  It’s still FRESH in my mind and I have SO MUCH to share with you!

    This year we managed to keep our vacation a secret from the kids for almost 1.5 YEARS after we booked it.  Think about it: Lily is now in 2nd grade.  We booked this cruise in MAY of her KINDERGARTEN year.  That’s a long time to keep such a huge secret under wraps!!  But somehow we succeeded and just 3 weeks before we set sail, we made up a fun scavenger hunt to reveal our surprise.

    Check out the video below, then take a look at all of the Disney tips and tricks that I have posted over the years.  I’d recommend bookmarking or pinning that link – it’s where I will be posting a whole lot of new Disney posts over the coming months!  Oh – and my YouTube Channel has LOTS of Disney videos with more to come!

    PIN THIS POST TO PINTEREST!

    Disney Cruise Surprise Vacation Reveal Video

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    25 Dollar Store MUST-BUY Items for a Disney Cruise

    Dollar Store Disney Cruise Must Buy Items

    When one of your family’s most favorite hobbies is to travel, and you find yourself packing your bags every month or two for the next adventure, you get pretty good at shopping for (and/or stockpiling) supplies.  One of my most popular travel posts of all time is this list of Dollar Store Must-Buy Items for a Disney World vacation.  Ever since I published that post, it had been on my to-do list to write a Disney CRUISE specific shopping list.  And here it is!

    As I gather supplies for an upcoming trip, I usually make a mega packing list in my life planner.  If necessary, I place an order for supplies with Amazon and then I usually stop at ALDI for food/snacks and ALWAYS make a trip to the Dollar Tree for random particulars.  The dollar store tends to be overlooked by some for vacation necessities, but I am here to tell you: DON’T OVERLOOK THE DOLLAR STORE.  Whether you’re heading to a beach, a theme park, going by plane or by car or in this case, BY SHIP, the dollar store is a traveler’s best friend.

    Check out the 25 items that I always stock up on at the dollar store before we board a Disney Cruise Ship.

    1. Pirate Costume Accessories – If you’re heading on a Disney Cruise in the Caribbean, chances of a Pirate Night on your sailing are pretty good!  Before our last cruise (and near Halloween) we found all sorts of pirate accessories (eye patches, bandannas, hooks, etc) at the dollar store.

    dollar store pirate costumes

    Red Bandana

    2.  PonchosBad weather can blow in almost without warning when you’re out on the ocean.  The same holds true if you’re cruise ship is stopping at a tropical port (Florida included!).  We have yet to take a trip to Florida and not get rained out at least one afternoon during our stay.  Rain showers and storms blow up over the theme parks frequently.  Sometimes they literally build on top of the parks and you have little-to-no-warning to take cover.  You can absolutely find ponchos in every theme park gift shop or hotel store.  And I guaranteed you that you will absolutely NOT find them for $1.  Stock up at the dollar store before you leave town.  Get one for every member of your family and also consider picking up extras to throw over strollers, luggage, etc.  We gave ponchos to the adults in our Fish Extender group on our last cruise!

    Rain poncho

    3. Dry Erase Board – If you have never cruised before, get ready to find dry erase boards on many cabin doors on the ship!  Dry erase boards are a great way to communicate plans and current locations for friends and family on your cruise.  Don’t forget – your cell phones won’t work on board and that includes text messaging.  Slap a dry erase board on your door and enjoy this antiquated-yet-effective communication method (most cabins on Disney ships are magnetic, minus Concierge level cabins on the Dream and Fantasy).

    dry erase board

    4.  ToothbrushesUnless you’re a couponer and you work the drugstore and/or coupon deals to get free toothbrushes, you know that buying toothbrushes for the whole family can add up.  I tend to replace our travel toothbrushes after most trips because the thought of them rolling around the toiletry bag for months grosses me out.  Pick up toothbrushes on the cheap at the dollar store for trips.  You won’t feel terrible throwing them out at the end of vacation because they didn’t cost much.  Save the costlier toothbrushes for your home bathroom. For a week or so away most of us can settle for a simplistic model.

    Toothbrushes

    5. Glow Sticks –  Glow sticks are so much fun for pirate night on the ship!  Stock up for less at the dollar store and let the kids load up on glowing jewelry before you head to the Pirate Deck Party!  We gave glow sticks to the tweens/teens in our Fish Extenders group!

    Glow Sticks

    6. Cups, Tumblers, Water Bottles – All of your drinks (minus alcohol) on a Disney Cruise are INCLUDED in your cruise fare.  Disposable cups are offered at most beverage stations, but they tend to be small and don’t keep your hot drinks warm for too long.  Throw a cup or two in your luggage – I love the water bottles and plastic tumblers for the kids and Bob and I always bring a travel mug for coffee!

    Cups and tumblers

    7. Snack Containers and Plastic Snack Bags – These are great for tossing random snacks in for the kids to eat during shows, down time in your cabin, whenever.  Toss some dry cereal or baked goods in snack containers or bags while you’re at the buffet – you never know when you might need a snack to throw at the kids.

    I also use plastic bags throughout my packing routine.  I use gallon sized bags for packing individual outfits, toiletries that I am worried might leak, etc.  I ALWAYS pack an extra gallon bag into the diaper bag for holding dirty diapers, clothes that diapers have leaked on, wet clothes and bathing suits, emergency barf bags, you get the idea.  Bumps and bruises can be soothed with instant ice packs – just put ice from the beverage station or your cabin steward into a sandwich bag.  I pack individual road trip activities in different sized bags as well – this would come in handy if you’re driving or flying to your port.

    I recommend buying a box or two in sandwich, quart and gallon sizes.

    snack containers plastic bags

    8. Popcorn Containers – Oh!  One of my favorite items from the dollar store that I totally just grabbed on a whim before our last cruise.  I LOVE (like, in an obsessive way) fresh popped popcorn.  I can’t seem to turn it down!  On a Disney Cruise, you can buy a big souvenir popcorn tub and then enjoy really cheap refills throughout your trip.  I bought my souvenir tub on the first day on the ship.  Before each show, we got the tub refilled, then dumped that refill into these cute popcorn containers – one for each kid and another for Bob.  Then I went and got a second refill well, just for me.  I told you – I LOVE POPCORN!!

    Mickey Mouse Snack Boxes

    Kids with Popcorn

    9. Trash Bags – It’s always a great idea to pick up a box or two of trash bags.  They are so helpful for collecting that unavoidable mountain of dirty wash throughout your trip.  Disney Cruise Ships all have coin operated laundry facilities on various decks.  Trash bags make great laundry bags in a pinch.

    Trash Bags

    10. Plates and Napkins – Room service is FREE on Disney Cruises and is available pretty much around the clock. We found it super handy to have some extra plates and napkins in our cabin so that we could divvy up the food to the kids!

    plates and napkins

    11.  Tissues, Hand Sanitizer, and Wet WipesBoogers, snot, phlegm, poop, pee.  Add dirt, blood, excess suntan lotion and more to that list.  You can never have enough tissues, wipes or sanitizer!!  Stock up at the dollar store.

    For tissues, I like to get a couple big packs of the smaller travel packs.  I stick the smaller packs EVERYWHERE – one in the diaper bag, purse, car, different luggage pieces, etc.

    Soap and water are always going to be your best line of defense against germs, including the dreaded norovirus that likes to fly around ships.  In a pinch, hand sanitizer will do the job.

    tissues sanitizer wipes

    12.  Mesh Laundry Bags While I tend to use trash bags to gather my dirty laundry on vacation, mesh laundry bags work wonderfully too.  ALSO – if you are going on a BEACH trip… grab a mesh bag or two.  Use it to toss the sandy toys in at the end of the day.  Much of the sand will fall off the toys and out of the bag BEFORE you get back on the ship, keeping the majority of the sand OUT of your cabin.

    mesh laundry bags

    13.  Batteries You probably make sure that you have packed your eleventy billion charging cords for everything from phones to tablets to Kindle Readers.  But don’t forget to throw some extra batteries in your bag for any random electronics that you might want to run and not be near an outlet.

    batteries

    14. Bubbles – Love ’em or hate ’em (and most kids LOVEEEEE them), bubbles make great boredom busters with minimal mess.  They are also lots of fun for Pirate Night Party and your Sail Away Party!

    bubbles

    15. Over-The-Door-Hooks – These hooks are sanity savers!  They help give our towels, bathing suits, backpacks, camera bags, WHATEVER, a spot OFF of the floor.  Pick up a few and toss them on the bathroom doors!

    Over the Door Hook

    16.  Travel Bottles – Always a good idea to grab some of these for trips, even if you’re not flying (and thus bound by airline restrictions).  These bottles make it easy to portion out shampoo, etc in smaller increments.  Most, if not all, Disney Cruise ship cabins have two bathrooms so this is an easy way to split up your toiletries.

    Travel Bottles

    17. Earplugs Earplugs come in handy for fireworks, loud shows, or even when you end up in a cabin with a very loud SNORER.   At just $1 for a multi-pack it’s smart to grab a pack just in case they are needed.

    earplugs

    18. Sponges and Washcloths – Half of my family prefers bar soap and washcloths… the other half prefers sponges and body wash.  Pick up a couple of each and toss ’em out at the end of the trip.  At just $1 each they will work great during your trip, but they are totally disposable and there’s no lugging anything wet home in your luggage.

    sponges and washcloths

    19. Nightlights and FlashlightsMaybe you have a kid who is afraid of the dark, maybe you don’t.  If you do, pick up a little nightlight before you head out on vacation so you’re not scrambling at bedtime in your cabin.  If you DON’T have a kid who is afraid of the dark, consider picking up a small flashlight.  These are nice to leave on the nightstand in the event that your kid wakes up and needs to get to the bathroom, etc. in the middle of the night.  Unfamiliar surroundings and furniture can lead to bumps and stubbed toes!

    flashlights and nightlights

    20. First Aid This and That – Extra thermometer, bandages, triple antibiotic cream… all are good ideas to toss in your toiletry bag.  Pick up many of these standard items at the dollar store at a super low price.

    first aid dollar store

    21. Chapstick – Keep those lips moisturized!  I hate how dry my lips tend to get when we stay in hotels or cruise cabins thanks to the dry air.  I always take a least one chapstick or lip balm with me!

    chapstick dollar store

    22.  Reusable Bags – Bags are great for pool and beach bags to carry on and souvenir bags. I found a bunch of Disney branded bags at the Dollar Tree that would be perfect for your cruise.

    Disney bags

    23. Playing Cards – Hopefully you are able to carve out some time to relax while you’re on board… I know this can actually be tricky at times because there is SO MUCH to do on a Disney Cruise!  Take along a pack or two of cards – always fun to grab a table in the lounge and watch the ocean as you play some card games!

    playing cards

    24. Pill OrganizerGreat for vitamins and other medications, but think beyond that!  These little boxes are wonderful for things like safety pins, travel sewing kit pieces, etc.  They also come in handy for kids’ crafts you might be packing for boredom busters.  Rainbow loom bands, beads, Shopkins and other little novelties will fit in these compartments.

    pill organizer

    25. Souvenirs It’s so easy to fall prey to pricey Disney gift shops.  Souvenir prices run steep so I like to bring souvenirs with us that I have gathered at clearance sales, consignment sales, etc in the months leading up to our trip!  Saves at TON of money and the kids are every bit as excited.  I found little figurines at Dollar Tree, along with a bunch of other character-laden merch.

    disney toys at dollar tree

    Copy this list and take it with you to the dollar store!

    1. Pirate Costume Accessories
    2. Ponchos
    3. Dry Erase Board
    4. Toothbrushes
    5. Glow Sticks
    6. Cups, Tumblers, Water Bottles
    7. Snack containers and plastic snack bags
    8. Popcorn containers
    9. Trash bags
    10. Plates and napkins
    11. Tissues, hand sanitzier, wet wipes
    12. Mesh laundry bags
    13. Batteries
    14. Bubbles
    15. Over-the-Door Hooks
    16. Travel bottles
    17. Earplugs
    18. Sponges and Washcloths
    19. Nightlights and flashlights
    20. First Aid Supplies
    21. Chapstick
    22. Reusable bags
    23. Playing cards
    24. Pill organizer
    25. Souvenirs

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    Dollar Store Disney Cruise Must Buys

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    The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders + Lots of Ideas and FREE Printables

    disney-cruise-fish-extenders

    Whenever we have a Disney Cruise planned, I find myself fielding a common question from friends: Are you going to participate in the Fish Extenders?!  And during our 3 night Magic sailing and our 3 night Dream sailing, my answer was always, “No, I can’t handle one more thing besides packing for a massive road trip to the ship and several days in the Parks.”

    But this year, I was totally ready to give it a try.  And it was a BLAST!

    Whether you’re a Fish Extender Pro or a total rookie like we were, I hope that this post gives you some good ideas as you get ready for YOUR Disney Cruise!

    What ARE Fish Extenders?  Fish Extender is a gift exchange between fellow cruisers on a Disney Cruise.  On Disney Cruise Ships, every cabin door has a metal fish next to it.  This fish serves as a hook/shelf for crew to leave you your info regarding spa/restaurant/port adventure/etc reservation info.  It also makes the perfect hook to hang a “Fish Extender” to collect little gifts from other cruisers.

    How do I get a Fish Extender?  That’s up to you!  Many people make their own – I have seen everything from pocket organizers from Staples decorated and strung together with ribbon, to fabric versions that people sew.  Other people (us included) purchase fish extenders from the many sellers on sites like Etsy.

    How do I find a Fish Extender Group to join?  There seem to be two main ways to find FE Groups to join.  Sometimes you can find them on the thread for your particular DCL sailing on DisBoards.  Almost all DCL sailings also end up with their own private Facebook group.  Search on Facebook using your ship name and sail date to find your group.  This is how I signed up for our FE exchange group.  We had a thread in the Facebook group and a couple group members organized everyone into groups in spreadsheets.

    What’s the difference between a Fish Extender Group and “being pixie dusted?”  If you sign up for a FE group, you will receive a number of cabins to bring gifts for.  You are also always welcome to “pixie dust” other cruisers who may not be in your FE group but have FEs hanging off their fish hooks.  We were pixie dusted multiple times throughout our week on the Magic, mostly candy and other little trinkets.

    If you do not want to sign up for an FE group, you can still always pixie dust others and hope that you are pixie dusted in return.

    How/when do I deliver my Fish Extender gifts?  The “how” is simple – you literally walk around the ship and deliver your gifts to those in your exchange group.  The “when” is entirely up to you, however I recommend avoiding the days that the ship is in port.  Typically when the ship is in port, many people are off the ship for most of the day and your gifts will be sitting there for hours.  I have heard of incidents of theft (not many, but it happens) and obviously the longer the gifts sit outside the cabin, the more attention they might draw.

    How much money do I need to spend on Fish Extender gifts?  That is entirely up to you.  We received everything from dollar store candy and trinkets to DIY projects that obviously took people a bit of time.  We went the DIY route and were able to keep our gift cost to $1-2 per person. You also have the option to gift something to each individual in your exchange group OR you can give one gift to the entire cabin.

    Fish Extender Ideas!

    Ponchos for each adult with a printable poem:  This was our gift to the adults in our FE exchange.  I bought blank red drawstring pouches on clearance after the holidays last year.  I used my Silhouette to cut black Mickey Heads out of heat transfer vinyl.  A poncho from the Dollar Tree went into each bag.  I wrote a little poem and printed it out on cardstock.

    fish-extender-gift-mickey-pouch

    fish-extender-gift-mickey-pouch-on-heat-press

    Disney Cruise Poncho Gift

    Disney Cruise Poncho Poem

    Poncho Gift Fish Extender

    Personalized Chalkboards:  This was our gift for the little kid crowd.  I bought blank chalkboards and cut their names in vinyl on my Silhouette.  I used the “Waltograph” Disney-inspired font.  Then I cut Mickey Heads out of vinyl and used them to affix 2 pieces of chalk to each board.

    Disney Chalkboard

    Disney Chalkboard Gift

    Glow Sticks for Pirate Night with printable poem:  This was our FE gift for the tween/teen crowd!  I bought blank neoprene popsicle holders and personalized them with my Silhouette.  I picked up glow sticks and gave each kid several sticks.  I tucked a pirate night poem that I wrote inside the bag!

    Glow Sticks for Pirate Night

    Glow Sticks Fish Extender Gift

    Glow Sticks Gift

    Glow Sticks Gifts

    More fun ideas from the gifts that we received!

    Candles

    mickey-mouse-candle

    Holiday Ornaments

    disney-cruise-ornament

    Glowing and Light-Up Toys

    avengers-glow-stick

    DIY Dry Erase Board with Marker

    disney-cruise-dry-erase-board

    Navigator Tool Kit with handy helpers for the cruise

    disney-cruise-navigator-tool-kit

    Drink Tumbler with handy items for trip

    disney-magic-drink-tumbler

    disney-tumbler-survival-kit

    CD with Disney Music

    disney-halloween-cd

    Parks Merch

    disney-haunted-mansion-antenna-topper

    DIY Ice Cream Topping Bowls – just add ice cream!

    diy-ice-cream-sundae-bowls

    ice-cream-sundae-bowls

    Vinyl Decals (perfect for fellow Silhouette users!)

    mickey-love-vinyl-decal

    Tissues and Hand Sanitizer

    mickey-tissues-and-hand-sanitizer

    And here are some of the things we were pixie dusted with!

    fish-extenders-pixie-dust

    mickey-mouse-bookmarks

    Most of our haul (minus a few things the kids grabbed before I could take pictures!):

    fish-extender-gifts-we-received

    Overall our experience was great!   We received so many neat little gifts and the kids went bonkers every time we arrived back to our room to find more “Mickey Mail.”  We did run into an issue where 2 cabins on our list were not accurate – the people who originally booked had canceled at some point and didn’t notify our group about their change of plans.  That was a bit crappy, since I took the time to personalize our gifts and couldn’t just re-gift, but it was just a small blip in the road.

    Definitely consider participating on a Fish Extender Exchange on your next Disney Cruise!

    dcl-fish-extender

    Want to watch our Disney Vids?  Check out our Disney Cruise Line Playlist on YouTube!

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    ultimate-guide-to-disney-cruise-fish-extenders

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