What We Wish We'd Known for our Disney Cruise
We had such a blast on our Disney Cruise. I was truly the trip of a lifetime. But there were definitely things we wish we’d known that weren’t discussed on Pinterest- or that were misleading because information online was so out of date- that we’d like to share with you to make your trip go smoother. Here’s our Top 10 Most Helpful Tips:
1. There is not a place on the ship to drop off objects to be signed by the characters
We were very misled by this online and brought frame mats to be signed by all the characters instead of autograph books. They were bulky and awkward to carry around- especially on our excursions, so we just didn’t get signatures. It was a bummer. Apparently they did away with that practice about 5 years ago, according to guest services. So there is very old information still floating around Pinterest.
2. Signed Paper for Minor Disembarking
If you have more than one stateroom that your family is staying in, regardless of what you filled out ahead of time online, children may only disembark with the parent they are assigned to in their stateroom. So for excursion days, this was quite the pain (though I completely understand it’s important). For example, we had 3 staterooms because we have 7 kids and they would only put 4 people per stateroom. So, my husband had 2 of our kids assigned to him in his stateroom, I had 3 more assigned to me in my room, and my parents had 2 of our kids assigned to them. When we got off the boat, my children couldn’t get off with me if they were not sleeping in my stateroom. This made getting on and off the boat really tricky because everybody had to be together all the time. We couldn’t even get off with our own children that were assigned to my parents. But there was a very easy fix- that we didn’t learn until the end of our cruise. You just bring everybody down to guest services, sign a paper about what adults can take what kids on and off the boat and you’re all set. It was super quick. I wish we would’ve known this from the start. It was so much less stressful when some people wanted to stay longer on an excursion than others.
3. Reusable Water Bottles at Water Stations are Prohibited
We heard online that you will want your own water bottle. Well, the Disney Staff want to keep germ spreading to a minimum, so you are supposed to use the disposable cups they have available when using the water stations. You can fill your bottles in the shower or the sink, but that was just a pain. At all of our excursions there were plenty of water stations to fill up at, so we only brought water with us one day.
4. Children that are not potty trained are NOT allowed in the pools on board the boat- even with a swim diaper.
This was very sad for us. Our 1 year old absolutely loves the pool, but he couldn’t hop in with us. He could play at the splash pad, but I couldn’t watch him at the splash pad and my children at the pool at the same time. So just be prepared for that.
5. Child care for Babies is NOT Complimentary
Ages 3 and up have complimentary kid care (our kids LOVED the Oceaneer’s Club), but for the babies- not so much. It’s $9/hour to drop them off. When we went to check out the facility, the staff told us we would want to book early the first day because space fills up. We had no idea when we would need the child care, so we just ended up keeping our little guy with us. He had a pretty rough trip. Sneaking in naps was nearly impossible some days, but we made it through. He was exhausted and so were we. Ideally, I would wait for my youngest to be at least 3 years old before doing it again.
6. Be prepared for cancelled excursions
Especially at Castaway Cay. In our group we had several excursions cancelled for wind: glass bottom boat ride, swimming with the rays, and parasailing- and the weather was actually pretty amazing for us on shore. There are plenty of other fun things to do with out the excursions, but just be aware of that. Our excursions at Nassau with the dolphins and water park were both fine.
7. One Stateroom Number for Pictures
If you are going with a group, and/or have more than one stateroom, use only one of the stateroom numbers for pictures. We messed this up. We went with a large group of family and it would’ve saved us so much money to pitch in on one photo package, all using the same stateroom number, instead of using multiple ones and being charged per room.
8. Key Card for Lights
You need your hotel key to turn on the power and the lights in your stateroom. We almost left our key card in the stateroom on our way to excursions sometimes because of this. We learned you can ask your concierge staff for another card to use for your lighting. We were using our door hanger (you know, the “do not disturb” one) and the staff thought that was a bit weird.
9. Shopping on Scuttles Cove
This is very embarrassing, but when we were on Castaway Cay, we never went further in the Scuttle’s Cove area than the child care area. We spent all the rest of our time at the Pelican Pier or Cabana area. There is some shopping on the ship, but apparently there was a ton at Scuttle’s Cove. The kids didn’t find very much they were interested in on the ship, so I’m bummed we didn’t even realize there was somewhere else. We got most of our souvenirs at the Orlando Airport on our way home. They had a better selection for my family there.
10. Only 6 People per Cabana is a Firm Number
We went with a large group and thought as long as we only had 6 people in the rented cabana at a time, we would be okay. But you have to have the same 6 people in the cabana the whole day. That changed up our plans a bit, so I wish we would’ve understood that better before.