Ah, yes – the good ole packing list! For some, creating a packing list just adds to the excitement of what’s to come. For others, it’s a dreaded and unnerving task. We are somewhere right in the middle! While it gets us ready for what’s to come, we do tend to check the list in an OCD fashion, in fear that we are forgetting a necessity. Check these items off your list well before your cruise so you can focus on what’s important here… getting to cruise on the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) with Mickey Mouse and his Pals!
Editor’s Note: Disney Cruise Line has suspended sailings aboard the Disney Fantasy through April 24; the Disney Dream through April 30; the Disney Magic through May 9; and the Disney Wonder through May 12. We present this article for future cruise planning.
1 – The Necessary Documents
We’re sure it doesn’t surprise you that this is our #1! Without the proper documentation, your Disney Cruise will sail away without you, so be sure this is the MOST important item that you check off on your packing list. The documents needed really depend on your cruise destination so be sure to review the information the DCL provides you well in advance. Necessary documents may include ID, Passport and Children’s Birth Certificates. If you’re flying or staying at a port hotel, printed tickets/confirmation pages should be included as well.
2 – Cash (with Small Bills)
Swing by the ATM! We are so used to pulling out our credit or debit card to pay for things that cash may be the last thing on the mind. You’ll want cash on hand, however, especially small bills, so you can tip for services such as luggage handlers or rides to and from the hotel. Depending on your cruise destination, it is also nice to have the cash to pay for souvenirs as some vendors may not have the capability of accepting cards.
3 – Prescription Medications
If you forget anything below, chances are you can purchase it on your Disney ship. Unfortunately, that is not the case for your prescription medications. Besides your prescription medications, it’s nice to have some Tylenol or Advil with you as well. Of course, if there is an emergency, you can see the onboard medical staff for assistance.
4 – First Day Carry-On
When you arrive at the port, your luggage is checked. You won’t see this luggage until after you set sail when it arrives next to your stateroom later in the evening. Go ahead and pack a carry-on for the first day that includes the necessities such as the items above and anything else you feel would be helpful to have with you. If you’re planning to swim the first day, swimsuits are a great carry-on item not to be forgotten!
5 – Toiletries
While the DCL does provide some of the basic toiletries like soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, chances are you’ll want to pack your own items. Some toiletries items out of the norm that you may not think to pack include lip balm, hand sanitizer, feminine products, and a razor. Forgot something? You’ll likely have no troubles finding what toiletries you need on the ship – but you’ll be paying the extra money for it.
6 – Disney Gear!
This is Disney after all so go ahead and get that Disney gear ready for packing! Some of our recommended Disney gear would include special Disney character shirts, Mickey hat or ears, trading pins, and autograph books. If you’d like to keep your “Key to the World” card around your neck, you may want to bring a lanyard that has a card slot with you. The Key to the World card is used for identification and charging purposes on the ship.
7 – Protection from the Sun
No matter where your cruise adventure takes you, plan to protect yourself from the sun! Pack sunscreen for both adults and children, sunglasses and hats. From the Bahamas to Alaska, these items are extremely important for your body and for your comfort – as no one likes to deal with a sunburn!
8 – Swim Gear
It’s no surprise that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go swimming on the DCL! With several pools, splash areas, and beaches, packing the proper swim gear is important. With the sunscreen, sunglasses and hats mentioned above, don’t forget bathing suits, cover ups, water shoes, and goggles. If you have a little one, keep in mind that swim diapers are not allowed in the pools but can be worn in the splash areas. There is no need to bring your own towel if you don’t want to pack one as Disney has towels readily available both on the ship and at their private island, Castaway Cay.
9 – Beach Bag
Speaking of Castaway Cay, if your cruise destination takes you this route, you’ll want to have a beach bag ready to take off the ship with you. You can keep the packing of this bag light as the ship will be close by if you forget or need something from your stateroom. Outside of the normal swim gear mentioned above, you may want to include sand toys for children in this beach bag as well as snorkel gear if you don’t want to pay the fee to rent it on the island.
10 – The Right Shoes
What shoes to bring? Guys – this isn’t just a dilemma for the ladies! The right shoes are important, especially when it comes to bringing the right pair of walking shoes. Some of the port excursions will have you on foot walking for some time. Comfortable walking shoes are key! You’ll also want to bring a pair of flip flops and dress shoes for the evenings on the cruise ship.
11 – Dining Attire
The DCL has a dining room dress code for their rotational dining restaurants. The attire is known as “Cruise Casual” which can include nice jeans, dress pants, and a nice shirt. No tank tops or flip flops are allowed in the dining rooms. If you have reservations to dine at Remy or Palo – DCL Signature Dining Restaurants – guys will need a dress jacket and ladies will need a cocktail dress or pant suit.
12 – Themed Attire
Of course, Disney is all about throwing a great party! Many of the DCL voyages will have a themed night with the most popular one being a Pirate’s Night. This is your chance to wear your best pirate gear and party the night away with a stage show, music and even fireworks! If you’re on a themed cruise like a Marvel Cruise for example, you’ll want to plan the appropriate attire for the theme such as letting the kids dress up in their Marvel costumes.
13 – Yes, a Jacket!
Just because you’re on one of the DCL ships sailing to a tropical oasis, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a jacket on your packing list. A light jacket is highly recommended as it does get chilly at night on the ship with the breeze out in the middle of the ocean. If you’re traveling on the DCL to a destination such as Alaska, you’ll want a warmer jacket and/or a rain jacket with ponchos.
14 – Race Gear
Is Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, one of your ports of call? Then you won’t want to forget to bring your running gear with you! Disney offers a free Castaway Cay 5K for your port of call morning which includes a free medal for completing the 5K. Bring your running shoes, breathable clothing, running belt, and anything else you prefer when running for this fun 5K.
15 – Top Electronics
We hope you have the chance to leave work at home and that includes the work laptop and all other work gadgets. But, if not, don’t forget the chargers for these items. Even if you leave work behind, you’ll still want to ensure your cell phone charger is on the packing list. You have a chance to use the complimentary DCL Navigator App on your phone to navigate the ship and the ship’s schedule. At nights, your phone will need a good charge. Plus, don’t forget your camera to capture the many magical moments!
16 – Door Décor
A DCL fan favorite! Be prepared to decorate your stateroom door. These doors are magnetic, so magnetic signs, characters, and messages are always welcome. Be sure to order these in advance and put them on your packing list so you don’t forget to put them with your luggage.
17 – Portable Clothesline & Towel Clips
If you and your family are frequent swimmers, you’ll especially want to take note of this one! We suggest bringing a portable clothes line and towel clips with you. You can clip and/or hang wet items on your balcony for faster drying than what you can expect inside. If you don’t have a balcony, these won’t be as important, but you can still take advantage of the clothesline available in all DCL showers. You’ll see a little knob near the top of the shower. Just pull that out and connect it to the insert on the other side of the shower.
18 – Hanging Shoe Organizer
Staterooms can tend to feel a little tight on a cruise, especially the bathrooms. We’ve found that a shoe organizer is an extremely helpful way to store bathroom items. Disney does not allow you to hang a shoe organizer on the back of the door for scratching reasons, but you can bring zip-ties with you to zip-tie your organizer to one of the towel racks. Just a little organizing tip you may want to include on your packing list!
19 – Bottled Water
Go ahead and pack some bottled water to have readily available in your room. Bottled water is not a free item on the ship so while you can order it from room service or get it at one of the stores, you will have to pay. Sometimes at the end of the day, it’s nice to have a bottle of water in the fridge without having to pay the extra price for it.
20 – Alcohol
The DCL allows guests ages 21 years and older to bring alcohol on board with them. There are parameters that must be followed. Each guest 21 years or older can bring a maximum of 2 unopened bottles of wine or champagne no larger than 750ml. If you decide you don’t want champagne or wine, you can bring 6 beers that are no larger than 12 ounces. Alcohol can be brought on board at the beginning of each port of call. You’ll want to store the alcohol in the carry-on bag we mentioned in #2 as it is not allowed to be packed in your checked luggage.
Check these items off the packing list and get ready for a Disney Cruise of a lifetime!
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