Once my family and I decided to book a Disney Cruise, I spent countless hours researching, reading and watching everything I could to prepare for our trip. It had been years since I had taken a cruise and now with kids, I knew I needed to plan more than ever. Cruising with Disney was amazing and they took care of so many things, but there were definitely some items we packed that made the trip so much easier!
Now that we are back, I figured I would share the items I would recommend you pack for your next cruising adventure. These items would obviously be awesome for any cruise/ship and are not limited to Disney, but after our last trip, I would HIGHLY recommend you book your own Disney Cruise! Literally the best family vacation, ever! We ended up packing a lot more than we needed so I think it will be super helpful to share the items that we actually did use and will definitely take on our next Disney Cruise.
Because this was our first Disney Cruise, we did not have DCL lanyards to bring on the ship. I heard a rumor that once you have sailed once and book your next cruise, DCL sends you a lanyard. This is awesome because I can’t imagine not having a lanyard for this trip. Once they give you your “Key to the World” card, you will want (and need) to keep that on you at all times. Not only is it your room key, but it also serves as your credit card for items you want to purchase on the ship. You will also need the key to get off and on the ship and check your children in and out of the kid’s club, so you will not want to lose it. These are the ones we purchased and they were so cheap and easy!
Lysol Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
About a month before we sailed, a story was going viral (no pun intended) about a Royal Caribbean ship turning around and bringing all of its passengers back because a terrible stomach bug was circling the ship and the medical staff couldn’t keep up. That sounded and still sounds absolutely terrible. Everything I had heard about Disney was true. The ship was spotless and the castmembers were cleaning and passing out hand sanitizer wipes at every turn. They even had an awesome hand washing station in the kid’s club. Even though this was the case, I didn’t want to take any chances so I brought my own Lysol wipes. I wiped down the phone, remotes, and handles as soon as I got in the room, and I often annoyed my children by forcing hand sanitizer on them. You do you.
I saw this tip a few times when I was researching online and I am SO glad we purchased them. These little magnet hooks were perfect for hanging our lanyards, wet swimsuits and other odds-and-ends on throughout our stay. The doors in the cabin are metal so we stuck a few up on each door. They really helped us keep all the wet swimsuits out of the shower area and off of the floor.
I didn’t think of this until the last minute, but I am so glad that I did. I grabbed a couple of round generic pool floats (deflated) and some beach pails/shovels to bring with us. We were on a 5-night cruise and 2 of those days we spent all day at the beach. I felt bad for all the other families that were shelling out $20 for a beach bucket on the island. The beach toys kept the kids busy for hours and we saved $14/each on renting pool floats for them at Castaway Cay. I purchased ours at the Dollar Tree but I am sure you could pick these up anywhere!
When I was younger I remember the staterooms on other cruise lines being very small and not providing much storage. I am sure all cruise lines and cabin types are different, but when I walked into our cabin on Disney, I was surprised to see a ton of drawers and a very large closet. (Stay tuned for some shots of our room – it was great!) All of our suitcases fit underneath our bed and we were all able to unpack with more than enough space. In saying this, one of the items that helped us stay organized was this closet organizer. We could pop in our sunglasses, sunscreen, flipflops or anything else we needed to have easily accessible. We also kept our cover-ups and t-shirts hanging here so we could grab them quickly if we needed them. It was also super easy to pack!
I heard that towel clips were a must on cruise ships because of the wind on the deck and I am SO glad we packed these. The decks definitely get really windy when you are at sea and the clips help keep your towel down in the wind. They are also great for getting in and out of the pool so that your seat is saved and your towel is secure. I didn’t want to spend a ton on fancy towel clips so I picked these up on Amazon. They were great and we also threw them in our bag for our excursions.
I know Disney is making some changes when it comes to their bathroom and shower products. Instead of individual bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc. they are replacing them with larger refillable containers. I am not sure how this will affect the soap in the bathrooms, but I read a suggestion prior to our trip to bring our own pump bottle of hand soap. We did and it was so helpful. It was easier for the kids to use and with all of the hand washing we were doing, it lasted a lot longer and was easier to manage. This item is more of a convenience and preference thing, but for us, it was definitely useful.
Waterproof Phone Case
This list is in no particular order, but if it were, this item would be at the top. I am so glad I picked this up before our trip. It might be pretty obvious that you will be around a lot of water on your cruise, but I had no idea how much this would come in handy. I saw other families covering their phones to protect them from stray kiddo splashes and I never had to worry about my phone getting wet. I did not actually use this in the water, but I saw people who did and it looked awesome. When we would go ashore I would stick my license, cash, and other cards in here and everything felt secure and safe around my neck until we returned back to the boat. Definitely a must!
Again, this may be an obvious choice for most, but I think we completely underestimated how much sunscreen our family would use. As I mentioned before, we went on a 5-night cruise so we were out in the sun for 6 days. We spent almost all day out in the sun on most days and between the 4 of us, we used a lot of sunscreen. I saw so many cruisers sunburned on the first day and I couldn’t imagine being miserable or unable to be in the sun the rest of the trip. So use sunscreen and make sure to reapply often! These are my absolute favorite sunscreens. This spray smells amazing and is easy to apply. This face stick is a must with kiddos and protected them the entire trip.
Because we were new to Disney Cruising, I was a little confused by the whole Fish Extender concept. I had heard from other cruisers that it was an absolute must if you were traveling with kids, so I looked into it. It turned out to be so fun! Basically, every stateroom on the ship has a metal “fish” outside. Families then can essentially hang an organizer on that “fish” and people drop off gifts throughout the week. It was SO fun coming home after a long day at the pool or after dinner to find fun treats at our door. In turn, you also deliver special treats to the other members in your Fish Extender group. Usually, each group has a total of 10 staterooms. Families can deliver items to everyone in the room or they can decide to deliver a single stateroom gift for everyone. One of the best ways to sign up to be in a Fish Extender group is through your cruise’s Facebook page. It might take a bit of digging, but each sailing should have their own Facebook group. We were able to sign up for a Fish Extender group and also get so much other valuable information about our cruise through this page. In order to be a part of a Fish Extender group, you will want to have a “Fish Extender” so everyone can drop off gifts. We purchased this one and it was perfect. We saw that a lot of other cruisers had this one too! We personalized ours with our names with some iron-on vinyl but Etsy also has a ton of custom designs that are awesome! Stay tuned for another Travel Tuesday post with some of my favorite Fish Extender Ideas. This year I made personalized water bottles and they were a hit!
Wine or Beer
The alcohol policy for each cruise line is a bit different, but Disney allows you to bring on 2 bottles of wine each or 6 beers. Click here for all the details on their policy. This was such an awesome perk that my hubby and I definitely took advantage of! We brought some of our favorite wines on board and opened them up in our stateroom (our stateroom attendant tracked us down a wine opener) and even took a couple to dinner. The corkage fee was $25/bottle but for us it was totally worth it!
Personalized Door Magnets
Unfortunately, we booked too late to create our own magnets, but I will definitely make some for the next cruise! It is really popular to decorate your door on a Disney Cruise with personalized magnets. Not only does it help you recognize your stateroom, but it also shows fellow cruisers who you are! I saw magnets with names, favorite sports teams, birthday or anniversary announcements, and favorite Disney characters. It was so fun to walk down the hall and check out everyone’s doors. If you have time, I would definitely recommend creating your own door magnets or purchasing some off of Etsy!
Have you cruised with Disney or are you planning your first Disney Cruise? Let me know in the comments below! If you have already sailed, I would love to know which items you packed that helped make your trip a bit easier or more organized!