Packing for your Disney Cruise

Throw your Disney World packing list out the window, because Disney Cruise Line packing is a lot different. The style of vacation is a lot different as well! There are two types of cruising families – the first: the ship is the vessel that takes them to the unique destinations they want to explore and the second: the ship is the destination and an all inclusive vacation. My family falls into category number 2.

If your family is the first type of family, your Disney World packing list may be helpful – comfortable clothes, closed toed shoes, extra socks, etc.  For my family it’s all about the experience, so we pack for every experience – formal, semi formal, pirate night, cruise casual, and more! THREE suitcases later, we’re ready to go! So what’s in our suitcases? Let’s take a look!

Clothes, clothes, and more clothes. A complaint I get from many first time cruisers is that there’s not enough space in their bags for all of the special nights. On longer cruises you’ll have a formal night, semi formal night, some sort of themed night (Frozen, Pirates, etc.) plus “cruise casual”. Disney’s policy on attire at rotational dining is pretty lax. We find that we are more comfortable in skirts and dresses (my husband in khakis and a polo) than in more casual clothing because of our restaurant surroundings. They are just a little bit nicer feeling (I liken them to California Grill or even Cinderella’s Table in Disney World). With extra attire comes extra shoes, jewelry for me, and some cardigans to go over the dresses because those restaurants are CHILLY!

Swimming anyone? For us, our cruise is our destination. We don’t spend a lot of time on port adventures (mainly because I don’t want to chase around a 3 year old OR carry her around when she’s done walking) so outside of Castaway we are on the ship enjoying our experience. That means swimming and relaxing. I, for one, do not like getting into a wet swimsuit, so we bring 2-3 suits per person. Thankfully they don’t take up a lot of space. We leave our beach towels at home. There are plenty of towels on the ship (you can ask your room attendant for more if you need them). On your Castaway Cay day, you are given medium sized towels to bring with you. Take as many as you can comfortably carry as you’ll likely be in and out of the water. We also pack water shoes. Safer for a 3 year old to have a little bit of “grip” on the pool deck and it saves our feet from the hot sand and walking paths at Castaway.

Speaking of carrying... Two more important things – BAGS! On the day of embarkation, I have a bag that rolls/with wheels. We try to have an early check in time to take in an early lunch and get a little swim time in before the Disney resort buses get to port. Staterooms are not available until 1:30 pm, so anything you carry on board, you’ll have to carry. Camera, computer, and other misc. things get heavy in a backpack, so I like an option with wheels. Additionally, if you want to carry on wine or beer (according to Disney’s alcohol policies), it needs to be in carry on luggage and not anything checked.

I also need a bag to carry things around Castaway. An extra change of clothes, a cheap watch to put around the handle, and a place to stash sunscreen. You are welcome to head back to the ship if you want a change of clothes, but that’s a time consuming effort! Since we aren’t getting off the ship at all of the ports, we get our money’s worth out of Castaway and spend the entire day there. A large beach bag is perfect for everything we need!

Hydration, hydration, hydration! We also bring a water bottle per person to stay hydrated on the ship as well as Castaway Cay. Disney has refill stations for both water, soft drinks, and select other options are available. The refill cups available at each station is small. We use the cups to put water and ice in and then transfer it to our bottles. It’s also nice to have a full bottle of water before going to bed so we don’t have to run up several flights of stairs or hit the elevators late at night since the refill station is on the pool deck.

What not to bring. There are a handful of things that you should NOT bring onto your Disney cruise. The obvious things like weapons (or toys that look like weapons) but there are some less obvious things:

  • Hard liquor – Disney’s alcohol policy only allows guests to carry on 2 bottles of wine/6 beers per person. No hard alcohol can be carried on. It will be held and returned to you after you disembark.
  • Extension cords/power strips. There are some specific requirements for power in each stateroom and having extension cords or power strips can overload the circuits. If you need an extension cord for medical reasons (example: CPAP machine), an approved version can be rented upon boarding the ship. For those of us with lots of electronic devices, consider a multi-USB device charger. We purchased a 4 USB charger and it works well for our using. We try to charge the iPad during the day and phones at night because the iPad takes more power to charge than phones do.
  • Homemade or opened food. There is plenty of food on the ship and chefs can accommodate dietary restrictions. Disney does allow pre-packaged and unopened items brought onto the ship if you do need to bring something.
  • Irons or bottle warmers (similar to the extension cord/power strip policy). If you need either, guest services can help.
  • Recreational pool equipment – pool noodles, large tubes, etc. Floatation devices for safety are allowed (such as wings and floatation devices sewed into swim suits).
  • Over the door hanging devices – this can scratch/damage doors and Disney no longer allows them.
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

 

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Disney Cruise Line Halloween on the High Seas 2016!

 

Recently announced, Disney will again host Halloween on the High Seas fleetwide in 2016! For those that have attended this fun addition to all things Disney Cruise Line know that it’s great fun and adds to the magic of your cruise experience!

This event adds Halloween themed parties, fun themed entertainment, unique decor on board the ship (including the amazing Halloween Tree that continues to transform throughout your experience).

Halloween on the High Seas will take place in 2016 on the following sail dates:

Ship

Sail Dates

Disney Magic

Disney Dream

Disney Fantasy

October 2 – October 29, 2016

September 2 – October 31, 2016

September 3 – October 29, 2016

Other special experiences include:

  • Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party—an atrium party scare-a-bration in addition to Pirate Night—with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating, dancing and some favorite Disney Pals in their Halloween attire
  • Halloween-themed activities for all ages, such as mask-making for kids and pumpkin-carving for teens
  • Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where you’re part of the action, followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack and Sally
  • Haunted Stories of the Sea—a campfire-style storytelling experience on the deck
  • Halloween movie marathon to get you in the spirit, shown on Funnel Vision and on the dedicated in-room television channel
  • Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids—an adults-only party that includes a costume contest

For those looking to just starting their first cruise experience or test the waters (no pun intended), the Disney Dream hosts 3 night cruises that are a great way to start out. It’s a more cost effective way to enjoy all of the fun, excitement, and family time of a Disney cruise. The best part about Halloween on the High Seas is that there is NO extra cost for all of the extra fun. Additionally, fall is one of the most cost effective times to cruise with kids recently back in school so you’re really getting more for your money.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

If you’d like more information on this special holiday offering or pricing on any available cruise in 2016 OR 2017, I’d love to help! The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney Cruise Line’s Piece of Paradise: Castaway Cay

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One of our favorite things about sailing the high seas on a Disney Cruise is Castaway Cay – your very own private island.  It is the ultimate destination for the Caribbean and Bahamas cruises.  I thought I would list just a few of the “need to knows” about the tropical paradise…

This exclusive 1,000 acre piece of tropical paradise is for Disney guests only.  Once you walk off the boat you are on the dock built just for you with easy access to where your beach towels are handed to you. (I love how the boat is docked right there for easy access to come and go as you please throughout the day.)  You then jump on a tram to the many different points throughout the island retreat. If you want to walk to the closest beach, this is only about a 15 minute stroll.  You might even meet Captain Jack Sparrow or Mickey and Minnie on this route for photos.

We Love Minnie!

We Love Minnie!

You can grab your complimentary beach chair and umbrella on Castaway Family Beach to splash in the water, ride bikes out to the look-out point or take a nap in a glorious hammock.  Disney always designs many unique activities for all ages  There are the kid’s club (Scuttle’s Cove) and the teen’s club (Hide Out) or the Serenity Bay Beach just for adults. There are two water play areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak.

The island has your choice of water toys and equipment for any water sport enthusiast!  Snorkel-gear, paddle boats, sail boats, kayaks, water cycles, and floats are all available for rent.  Fun excursions that Disney offer are such as fishing, sting-ray feeding (which was great!), para-sailing, and even the personal water-craft ski adventures around the island and through the fantastic mangroves!

Paddle Boats

Paddle Boats

The island has two BBQ all-you-can-eat buffet dining options: Cookies and Cookies II where there is no shortage of food!  It is a covered outside area with picnic tables and very informal but fitting for the beach.  The soft serve ice cream was my kids favorite and we also love the street dance party after lunch with many different characters.  There are bars for the 21+ crowd and private cabana rentals if you wish to truly pamper yourself for the day.

Lastly, Disney offers shops to cater to your every need whether it be sun screen, sand toys, or your favorite Castaway Cay souvenir.  If you would like to send a postcard back to the inland for your not-so-luck family and friends then you can at their very own post office with special Castaway Cay stamps – but cash is needed for these.  All other costs can be charged on your Key to the World card so sit back and enjoy!

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

Disney definitely knows how to do things right and they do not skimp of this perfect piece of paradise!  It is most certainly first-class entertainment, atmosphere, recreation, food, and great forever-memories as only they know how to do. So come relax on the beautiful white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. It is very safe to say that the island has Disney’s magic and fun for all!

Disney’s Special Cruise Offer until February 15, 2105:  if you book now through February 15th for any 2015 Disney cruise then pay only half of the deposit on the day you book.  The remainder of the deposit will not be due until your final payment.  Don’t let this great deal sail you by so contact us today!  Sailings are filling fast for 2015!

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay from our verandah

Pelican Plunge

Pelican Plunge

Hammock View

Hammock View

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

The Look Out Point by bikes ride

The Look Out Point by bike

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Ready to get started planning your 2016 or 2017 Disney cruise? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of time and frustrating trying to research the information yourself! The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!