Sailing with Disney Cruise Line is a magical experience. Whether it’s your first Disney cruise or your 50th sailing, there is always something new to discover. Do you have an upcoming Disney cruise? Which Disney ship will you sail on – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, or Disney Wish?
Before you embark on your Disney cruise, there are some things that you should do. Here are the eight things you’ll be glad you did before you sail away.
Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a Castaway Club member, the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app is handy. It’s where you can see an up-to-date countdown to your Disney cruise. You can also complete your online check-in, book experiences, and learn about your stateroom before your Disney vacation.
Downloading the Navigator app before your Disney trip also provides easy access to it once you arrive at the port. As you embark on the Disney ship, you can connect to the DCL Guest Wi-Fi network. As you do, the Navigator App transforms into your personal guide. While onboard, it’ll tell you your dining location each evening. You can also find times for all the activities and character appearances on board throughout your vacation.
Complete the Online Check In
Thirty days before your Disney cruise, you can check in online. To check-in, you will require your passport/Government-issued ID and a photo of each person in your travel party. Follow the instructions on the Navigator app to complete the online check-in. As you complete it, you can select your port arrival time, which is when you can begin to proceed to the ship on the day of embarkation.
Consider Port Adventures
Most Disney cruise itineraries include visiting a port like Nassau, Castaway Cay, and other international destinations. Before traveling and onboard the cruise ship, you can book a Port Adventure. A Port Adventure is a shore excursion organized by Disney at the destinations you will visit. There are Port Adventures to suit every budget, so take some time to see what is available on your cruise itinerary before traveling.
Alternatively, research the ports you will visit during your Disney cruise. Make a list of anything you wish to see while exploring. We love to explore ourselves when in port. It’s an excellent alternative to a Port Adventure. You may also be able to arrange experiences similar to those offered by Disney Cruise Line, which is also cheaper.
Book Additional Experiences
You can book additional experiences on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app ahead of your Disney cruise. When you can book other experiences depends on your Castaway Club member status and whether you’ll be sailing as a concierge guest. Generally, booking windows are as follows once you have paid the entire balance of your Disney cruise:
- Concierge guests – 130 days before your sail date
- Pearl Castaway Club Member – 123 days before your sail date
- Platinum Castaway Club Member – 120 days before your sail date
- Gold Castaway Club Member – 105 days before your sail date
- Silver Castaway Club Member – 90 days before your sail date
- First-time guest – 75 days before your sail date
The Navigator app will detail when you can make additional reservations. Before the day when you can make them, have in mind when you wish to book the following experiences:
- Senses Spa, Untangled Salon, and Hook’s Barbery treatments
- Palo, Palo Steakhouse, Enchante, and Remy reservations, including Palo Brunch
- Beverage tasting seminars
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & Pirates League
- “it’s a small world” nursery
- Goofy’s Sports Deck
- Select Disney character greetings
Discover Themed Events
Depending on the time of year you are taking a Disney cruise, you will likely find special themed events or evenings to enjoy while on board. You may experience one of the following events:
- Halloween on the High Seas
- Very Merrytime Cruise
- Pixar Day at Sea
- Marvel Day at Sea
While onboard, Pirate Night or Formal Night may feature on your cruise. While these nights are optional, they are fun to join. You can find out about these evenings by contacting Disney Cruise Line. For pirate night, look out for pirate experiences in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique when you are in port. Knowing about specific evenings will help you to pack accordingly.
Check the Weather
There are two weather checks we always do before embarking on a Disney cruise. Initially, we consider the weather for the time of year and the destination we wish to visit on our Disney trip. You will likely do the same when booking your sailing with Disney Cruise Line.
Closer to our vacation time, we begin to check the current forecast for the destinations we will be visiting. In particular, the week before you are due to sail is an excellent time to review the daily forecast. While the forecast can change, having an idea of the weather you can expect to experience will help you plan your outfits for your vacation.
Make your Vacation To-Do List
Once everything is finalized, make a to-do list for your Disney vacation. We always do this and check it off as we go. Include everything you want to experience on the Disney ship, from using the pool to seeing the shows, dining in Cabanas, and participating in activities. Being on deck to hear the whistles at noon, ordering room service, and winning a Disney medallion is always on our Disney Cruise Line to-do list.
Plan your Luggage
In the days leading up to your Disney Cruise Line vacation, all you should have left to do is pack. Planning our outfits will help control the amount you must put into your luggage. When cruising, there are three luggage considerations to make.
The majority of your packing will probably go into your main luggage. While you may only need a cabin-size bag for a shorter cruise of 4 nights or less, you’ll probably be considering a medium or large suitcase for longer cruises. Generally, these bags are those that you plan on leaving at the luggage drop before you proceed to check in at your Port Arrival Time.
Second, consider your bag for embarkation day. While cabin bags are easy to take on board as you embark on your Disney cruise ship, you’ll probably want a smaller bag to carry with you while you use the luggage drop for the rest. Of course, your embarkation bag should have all the documentation you require to travel. Additionally, consider other items you’ll need before you are reunited with the rest of your bags. If you plan on using the pools on the first day, keep your swimsuits with you. However, also avoid carrying anything you won’t need straight away.
Finally, consider the bag you will use on the morning of debarkation. Unless you plan on keeping all luggage with you, your bags must be placed outside your stateroom by 10:30 p.m. the night before you disembark. Naturally, you will have other items that won’t have been placed in your luggage before that time, such as pajamas, toothbrushes and toiletries, and your clothes from the night before. Your embarkation bag may be suitable to carry all these things. Alternatively, medium or large Disney reusable shoppers are perfect.