What Are Your BEST Disney Cruise Hacks?

What Are Your BEST Disney Cruise Hacks?

A week ago we did an article on our top 5 Walt Disney World hacks. Thanks to some readers liking our other article about the cost of a Disney Cruise, we immediately got asked what our best hacks for Disney Cruises were! So a week later, here we are, and here are Big Castle Travel’s best Disney Cruise hacks.


Our first hack is a mix between a hack and a tip for first timers. On most cruises, and especially Disney Cruises, you can order anything on the menu and it’s included in the cost of your cruise. You can also order more than one thing from the menu. Or everything from the menu. Or anything from the menu at the other restaurants*.

Did you really like that wild boar tenderloin at Royal Palace? Ask your server for it again the next night at Animator’s Palette! Want two desserts? Just ask, you will almost always get it!

*Does not apply to the up-charge locations like Remy or Palo.

food Disney Cruise line hacks

2. Arrive Early, Board Early

This is almost two hacks in one but they are super complimentary! First up, arrive early to your departure port. Depending on where you are coming from, you should consider arriving the day before and spending the night near the port. This is especially key when you are flying and concerned about flight delays. The Disney Cruise ship will NOT wait for you if your flight was delayed.

Now the real hack part comes in to play when booking your port arrival time. This is the time that you pick to actually board the ship. Even if your ship doesn’t sail until early evening, the early arrival will give you a ton of extra time on board the ship. And if you are already in town because you arrived early, then you might as well pick the earliest possible port arrival time. 

ship departure Disney Cruise line hacks

3. Send Your Kids to Cruise "Daycare"

Did you know that each Disney Cruise ship has a 4 different youth clubs? Each age group gets their own place to hang out, so kids, tweens, early teens, and older teens can have fun together. There is also a nursery for babies 6-months to 3-years old.

But that’s just a ship feature, not a hack, right? Wrong! Any parent knows that having a guaranteed safe spot to contain their kids for any amount of time amounts to the best parenting hack of all. The beauty is that, except for the nursery, parents are not allowed in these clubs. If you tell that to most kids then they’ll be begging you to get them on the sign-up list!

So if you are a parent that wants a little adult time to dine at Palo or relax at Senses Spa & Salon, then start talking to your kids now about how cool the onboard youth clubs are.

kids Disney Cruise line hacks

4. Be a Cruise Nerd with a Cruise Lanyard

This hack might be old news for frequent Disney Cruise Line guests. Guests who are embarking on their second Disney Cruise receive complimentary lanyards and card holders from Disney. If you are a first timer or you have never bothered to use the lanyard before, then you need to get a lanyard!

On Disney Cruises your stateroom keycard operates much like a MagicBand at Disney World. It’s your room key, charge card, and even your ticket for getting on and off the boat. Most lanyards come with a clear card holder on a retractable clip that is perfect for holding the stateroom keycard.

Another solid use of a lanyard is to attach a dry bag when you go on a shore excursion like Castaway Cay. You can find some clear dry bags that are perfect for storing your phone while still allowing you to take pictures!

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5. Ask Photographers to Use Your Camera

We mentioned the ship photographers in our article on how much a Disney Cruise costs. Sometimes using the ships’ photo services is a good idea. However, it’s not nearly as great of a deal as Disney’s PhotoPass system and their Memory Maker package in Walt Disney World.

But the photographers are still wonderful Disney Cast Members. Like almost all Disney Cast Members, the on-ship photographers will gladly use your camera or phone to take photographs. Be sure to have the camera app pulled up before you hand your device over, but otherwise enjoy the free pics!

Minnie meet and greet Disney Cruise line hacks

What are some other Disney Cruise hacks that you love? Do you disagree with anything on this list? Let me know in the comments!

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