You’re getting ready for your Disney Cruise, but what should you pack? Packing for a Disney Cruise requires a little more planning, but it doesn’t have to be hard! Here’s what we recommend you pack for a Disney Cruise. See below for a free printable to help you pack for your Disney Cruise!
Packing for a Disney Cruise
Packing for a Disney Cruise vacation requires a bit more planning. We admit, we are often guilty of the mentality that if we forget something, it’s easy to find somewhere to buy it. Of course, no one ever wants to spend extra money, but it’s nice to know that it’s an option just in case. However, that’s not quite the case onboard a Disney Cruise ship.
Yes, of course, they have shops. But first of all, they’re not open all the time. The shops on a Disney Cruise are only open at sea. So if you realize you forgot to pack something when you arrive at a cruise port, you’ll have to get off the ship to try to go find it wherever you’re docked. Plus, the shops onboard can be quite expensive. We love Disney Cruise merch, but it can get pretty pricey. And can take a good chunk out of your budget. So it’s best to be prepared. At the same time, you don’t want to overpack either. Staterooms are a decent size, but you don’t want to clutter it up with all the extra stuff you brought.
When packing for your Disney Cruise, you’ll want to pack checked luggage and carry-on luggage, just as you would for an airplane.
What to pack in your cruise carryon
Your carry-on luggage should consist of only the things you need to carry on, or anything you’ll need before your stateroom is ready. Things like your passport, medications, and valuables should all go in your Disney Cruise carry-on. There are also things that you must carry on the ship, like water and alcohol as these things cannot be checked. You just have to make sure that it fits through the scanner at security, which is just like the scanner you see at airport security. We actually have a whole post dedicated to this subject! Read all about what to pack in your Disney Cruise carryon here.
How much luggage can I bring on a Disney Cruise?
Disney Cruise Line allows two checked bags per passenger, as well as a carry-on and personal item. Your personal item can be a purse, backpack or anything around that size. You can read about Disney Cruise Line’s luggage policies here.
What to pack for a Disney Cruise Vacation
What you’ll want to pack for a Disney Cruise will largely depend on where you are sailing. Most Disney Cruises sail to warm weather locations, so that’s mostly what we will focus on here. We have, however, sailed to Canada and New England before, so if you’re sailing in a cold climate, see this post for what to pack on a cold-weather cruise. And when we finally make it on an Alaska cruise, we will be sure to make a packing post dedicated to that!
Essentials for a Disney Cruise
Here is a quick list of all the things that are really non-negotiable for your Disney Cruise. You must bring them along with you, and there’s really no way around it. These items should also be packed in your carryon.
Passport and Driver’s License
This will go in your cruise carry-on. If you remember nothing else for this trip, make sure you have this! For some destinations, a birth certificate is sufficient. But it’s important to know that if there is some sort of emergency and you have to fly back to the US from one of your ports of call, then you will need your passport. We always recommend bringing your passport in your carryon and having a copy of it in your checked luggage.
You’ll also want to make sure you have your driver’s license on hand. Most of the time, all you need to reboard the boat at the ports is your driver’s license. Your passport can stay onboard in the safe so you don’t lose it.
Disney Cruise Line Issued Luggage Tags
A few weeks before you set sail, Disney Cruise Line will send you luggage tags. These are much like the tags you put on your luggage at the airport and will tell the crew where your luggage should go. You’ll want to make sure they are attached to your luggage when you arrive at port.
You must bring your cruise documents with you to board the ship. This currently includes your QR codes from both Disney Cruise Line and SafePassage. Both of these can be stored digitally, or you can print them out.
Don’t forget your medications! Be sure to pack these in your carryon for easy access when needed and to keep them from getting lost. It’s very rare that luggage does get lost, but it happens. So we always recommend they stay with you.
Clothing for a Disney Cruise
Try to choose clothing that you can mix and match to save space in your luggage. Shorts, tees or tank tops, dresses, swimwear, pajamas, and undergarments of course.
Even if you’re sailing in the Caribbean during a warm time period, it can sometimes get quite chilly at sea. This is especially true when it gets windy during the evening hours. A cardigan or light jacket is usually sufficient. We also love these rain jackets, which are great for throwing over your outfit. The same goes for bottoms. You might want to bring one pair of light pants, like linen or beach pants just to be safe. On past cruises, I’ve always seen people freezing at night because they didn’t bring a warmer layer. And if you’ve never sailed before, that wind can really make a difference!
You’ll probably want a couple of different pairs of shoes, especially if you plan to do excursions. We recommend something comfortable and easy to access for on the ship, like slip-on sandals. This is super helpful for times when you just want to quickly head to the upper decks for a coffee or fountain drink. And you’ll want another pair that coincides with whatever you plan to do for your excursions, whether that’s sandals to go with a dress for some shopping, or tennis shoes for nature excursions, or water shoes for beach excursions. If you’re planning on dressing up for formal night or for dinner at Remy or Palo then you’ll want to make sure you have appropriate shoes for that as well.
Generally, we plan to each bring three pairs of shoes. Flip flops or slip-on sandals, tennis shoes, and a pair of dressy sandals or shoes for formal night or fancier dinners.
If you’re a pool or beach type of traveling party, then you’ll definitely want to bring swimwear! This includes a swimsuit and cover-up so you can lounge by the pool when not swimming. Depending on how much you’ll be in the water and how long your cruise is, it’s usually wise to pack 2-3 swimsuits per person. That way they will have time to dry before you need them again.
Sunglasses and Sunhat
It gets sunny on the top decks, so a sunhat and sunglasses are highly recommended. For little ones, we recommend grabbing an extra pair just in case they get lost or broken. And a sunhat will help keep you from getting a nasty sunburn.
You don’t technically need to bring special clothing for dinner. But some longer cruises have a formal night, where you can dress up, and people definitely do! And if you’re planning to dine at either Remy or Palo, you’ll need to be aware of their dress code.
Pirate Night attire
Most Disney Cruise itineraries include a pirate night, which is super fun! You definitely don’t have to participate, but most people do to some extent. You can keep it simple or go all out. We’ve seen some people in full Pirate costumes, and others who just stick to the pirate bandana given out on the ship. It’s always more fun to participate in some way!
Race Gear if running the Castaway Cay 5K
If your cruise itinerary makes a stop at Castaway Cay, you can participate in the Castaway Cay 5K. And if you choose to do that, you’ll want some sort of clothing to run it in, including running shoes of course.
Workout Gear if you plan to use the Gym
There is a gym onboard Disney Cruise ships and sometimes you might want to stick to your normal fitness routine. If that’s the case, be sure to bring workout clothes and appropriate shoes.
Things that will make your life easier
Here’s a few things that will keep life organized while on a Disney Cruise ship.
The walls in the staterooms of the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy are metal. Which means they are magnetic! Bring some magnetic hooks along to help keep things organized. These are perfect for things like hats, bags and your lanyards at night.
Reusable Water Bottle
The water cups that are available at the beverage are quite small. We recommend bringing a water bottle to save yourself a few trips.
This is especially true for first-time cruisers, but you’ll want a lanyard to hold your Key to the World Card. Your Key to the World Card is what is used for pretty much everything on a Disney Cruise Ship. It’s what you use for purchases and it’s also your room key, so it’s important to have it on hand and easy to get to. Disney Cruise Line gives these out to Silver Castaway Club members and higher, but if you’re a first time cruiser, you’ll have to bring your own.
An old card
An odd item for sure, but an old card (like a gift card) will be super helpful if you are sailing on the Disney Dream or the Fantasy. The lights are “powered” by a room key being inserted into a slot in the wall. I think it’s supposed to be magical, but it’s kind of not when you are fumbling around for your room key every time you enter the room and want to turn the light on. So bring an old card and just leave it in there.
Something for motion sickness
Unless you are a very seasoned cruiser, I highly recommend preparing for motion sickness just in case. We’ve been on cruises that have been smooth sailing and others that suddenly hit such choppy waters that dishes started falling off the tables. And you don’t want to be sick on your vacation. So just be prepared! We are big fans of seabands, but motion sickness patches are also a great option. If you can handle Dramamine, they do sell that on the ship or you can bring your own.
There are a limited number of outlets in the staterooms, so we recommend bringing a multi-port charger to keep it all organized and save outlet space.
Just For Fun
These are just a few things to add a little fun to your cruise!
All of the stateroom doors look the same. Bring some magnetic door decor to make your stateroom door stand out. Not only will it help you find your door amongst the neverending hallway of doors, but it also just makes it a lot more fun! You can make your own using a Cricut, or you can buy some beforehand. Etsy is a great place to look.
Costume for themed Disney Cruises
Disney Cruise Line has several themed cruises that you’ll want to pack extra for! Halloween on the High seas, Star Wars Cruise and Marvel Cruise are all options that allow costumes. You might also want to bring costumes for little ones if you’re traveling with kids.
This isn’t really essential, but if you’re a reader be sure to bring some books or your kindle with some books downloaded. I always love getting some reading time in early in the morning or just during down time at sea.
You can rent snorkeling equipment at Castaway Cay or you can bring your own! It’s completely optional, but it can save you quite a bit of money if you’re traveling with a larger party.
Electronics and Accessories
Sure, you don’t want to be glued to your devices the whole time you’re on your vacation. But it does help to have a few things handy for when you need or want to use them.
Camera and Charger + extra memory cards
Disney Cruise vacations are truly magical! So you’ll want to be sure to capture those memories. I usually bring my DSLR and my GoPro. The GoPro is especially helpful if you plan to snorkel and want to get some underwater videos or photos.
And don’t forget the extra memory cards! One mistake I made a lot when I first started traveling with my daughter was that I would never bring enough memory cards. Pack a couple of extras just in case.
Cell Phone and portable charging bank
Not that you’d probably forget your cell phone, but be sure to bring along a portable charging bank. Although you likely won’t be spending most of your trip on your phone, Disney Cruise Line is not currently giving out paper Daily Navigators anymore and you have to access that info via your phone. If you have an iPhone, you can also use iMessage onboard the ship to get in touch with your traveling party. Add in taking photos or videos and you’ll want to have a portable charger handy so you don’t have to keep running back and forth to your room for your phone.
Headphones or Earbuds
This is super helpful for times when you may be listening to music or an audiobook, or if you need some entertainment for your little ones during travel time.
Again, this is mostly just for convenience and entertainment.
Disney Cruise Line supplies most of the toiletries that you’ll need for your trip, so we recommend leaving the basics like shampoo and conditioner at home unless you need something special. The H20 line onboard is pretty amazing so we generally just stick with that! You’ll obviously want to bring essentials like deodorant, chapstick, toothpaste, and whatever extra hair care, skincare and makeup products you need. You can bring a curling iron onboatrd, but no need to pack a hair dryer as the staterooms all have one.
On days at sea, you’ll likely be spending a lot of your time on the upper deck, which can be quite sunny. Which is amazing, but who wants to get a sunburn on vacation? So don’t forget your sunscreen, especially if you’re in the sun in those midday hours. We love this reef friendly sunscreen, but if you do get a burn, see below for our favorite after burn lotion.
After Sun Care
In the unfortunate event that you do get sunburned on your cruise, we love this after-sun care. A lot of times we like to use it even if we haven’t gotten burned just because it feels nice to give our skin a little extra love when we’ve been in the sun all day.
Tips for Packing for a Disney Cruise
Here are a few tips for packing for your Cruise.
Packing cubes will be your new best friend once you try them! They make packing for a Disney Cruise so much easier. Organize all of your items in packing cubes before you travel and then when you arrive, unpacking will be a breeze!
Masks and Mask Chains
Masks are currently optional on all Disney Cruise ships, but if you still want to wear your mask, you can! If you choose to wear a mask onboard, we find it’s easiest with a mask chain. Taking your mask on and off as you go inside or outside is a lot less hassle with a mask chain, so if you plan to mask up, we highly recommend packing a chain to go with it.
Can I do laundry on a Disney Cruise?
Yes! Laundry facilities are available on board all of the Disney Cruise ships. You can pack some detergent pods and laundry sheets, or purchase them there. It does cost a small fee to use the machines, but it could also help you pack less, so that’s a win in our book.
Prohibited items on a Disney Cruise
There are definitely some items that you cannot bring on a Disney Cruise. Most of it is common sense like no weapons or drugs. You can find the whole list of prohibited items here.
Hopefully this post has helped you plan what to pack for your magical vacation. We’ve put together a free printable to help you pack. Are we missing anything? Let us know so we can add it!
Bon Voyage and Happy Sailing!