I always find myself scrambling to pack before a trip, but I really struggled before a recent Disney Dream cruise. I scoured different websites, asked friends, and finally came up with what I thought was the right gear to take along. Some of the items were used, but others should have been left behind. This ultimate packing list is for everyone going on their first Disney cruise.
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Table of Contents
What to Pack for a Disney Cruise
A Disney Cruise Packing List
Cruise Ship Suitcase Essentials
1. Bring the important documents
Bring passports, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses as well. When exiting the ship during port days, passengers are advised only to carry their driver’s license and leave their passports on the ship.
2. Don’t overpack on clothes
First and foremost, don’t overpack. You need shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sundresses, a light jacket, and a sweater or sweatshirt for cool mornings/evenings. Of course, you’ll want sunglasses and a hat too. Don’t forget pajamas, socks, and undergarments.
The dress code on board is fairly cruise casual, except for Formal Night (everyone dresses up), and don’t miss themed nights like Pirate Night (bring pirate gear if you want to dress up). Read this for more information about Disney Cruise Pirate Night.
The ship’s adult-only restaurants Palo and Remy have a dress code, so if you plan to eat there, be sure to pack some formal clothes like dress pants and a collared shirt for men and a dress, skirt, or pants and a blouse for women. Jeans can be worn if they are free from holes. The regular dining rooms don’t have a strict dress code.
3. Bring multiple swimsuits and a coverup
Wet swimsuits won’t dry very fast, and putting on a wet suit is never fun. Bring an extra one, so you always have a dry suit to put on. A comfortable bathing suit coverup is a good idea for walking around the ship.
Pack a rash guard for the kids since they will spend a lot of time in the sun during port excursions and at the pool.
4. Pack a Disney costume for your kiddos
5. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes
6. Do your own laundry on the cruise ship
Each ship has laundry facilities, and you can wash clothes while on board for a minimal fee. Pack some travel-size detergent pods and dryer sheets to make it easy. Laundry on board means fewer clothes to pack.
7. Don’t forget motion sickness medicines
If this is your first cruise, consider packing some motion sickness medicines. I took Sea Bands, Dramamine, and essential oils, but sadly, I spent the first day not feeling well.
8. What toiletries does Disney provide?
Disney provides shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, and aloe vera. Be sure to pack baby powder, sunscreen, and medications. They also provide a hair dryer, so there’s no need to pack one and take up the extra space.
Must Haves for Your Disney Cruise packing list
9. A day bag
A carry-on bag is helpful for the day you board the ship (for any necessities) and for days in port and on the beach. We love this day bag for travel.
10. Bring a multi-port charger for devices
There are limited outlets in the room, so if you have several devices to charge each night, you should invest in a multiple-port charger like this one.
We also brought a portable charger along to charge a cell phone throughout the day.
11. A lanyard to hold all of your cruise docs
Upon boarding the ship everyone receives a Key to the World Card. Not only is this your room key and essentially a charge card, it shows pertinent information about your cruise such as: Lifeboat Station, Dining Rotation (it shows which restaurant you eat at each night), dining time, table number, whether your an adult or minor and your final transportation arrangements.
Buy a lanyard or waterproof case online or at the gift shop and keep the card in there for the duration of the trip so you won’t have to search for it every time it’s needed.
12. Bring something for character autographs
Bring an autograph book, pillowcase, or picture frame, to have signed during character meet time. You can drop it off at Guest Services when you arrive, and it will be returned to your stateroom before you leave with autographs from all the characters. Kids will love it!
13. Consider packing Disney door decor
Decorate your stateroom door with magnets or other small items. (It also helps to find your room on a ship where all doors look the same). Consider buying some Disney door magnets or magnetic hooks to make your door stand out.
14. Be sure to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app
Before the cruise be sure to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app to your smartphone.
This app serves as a daily calendar while on the cruise and allows passengers to communicate via private chat over the ship’s wi-fi. (Just be sure to set your phone to airplane mode to avoid roaming charges). It’s definitely the most important thing to have on your device.
Also, consider downloading a white noise app to drown out hallway noise while sleeping.
Optional Food and Drink to Pack for a Disney Cruise
15. You may want to bring your own coffee
If you are a coffee connoisseur like myself, you might want to bring instant coffee packets and your own thermal mug. The coffee served onboard was not my favorite and I ended up paying for coffee at the Cove Café every day. Quite expensive for someone with a twice-a-day habit.
Also, room service is included on the ship, so those who want a lot of coffee in the morning might want to order a carafe to be delivered to their room.
16. Bring some candy for onboard movies
I know, there’s plenty of food on the ship, but there’s a charge for candy and popcorn in the movie theaters. Save yourself money and bring a few boxes on board.
17. What about alcohol on Disney Cruise ships?
Disney cruise guests aged 21 and older can bring alcoholic beverages such as two bottles of wine or champagne or 6 bottles of beer on board at each port of call.
These must be carried on and cannot be stowed in checked luggage. There is a corking fee if you want to drink these at dinner. If you want to enjoy it in your room, don’t forget a corkscrew.
Important Extras for Your Disney Cruise Packing List
18. Don’t forget your reading materials
There is not a dedicated library on board the ship, but there is supposedly a small book exchange area on board (we never found it). Be sure to download some books on your Kindle beforehand or bring some books/magazines along.
19. Be sure to pack your camera gear
There’s no need to overload with camera gear. A point-and-shoot camera or iPhone and a GoPro should suffice. Be sure to bring battery chargers and charger cords as needed.
20. Consider packing your own snorkeling gear
It does cost money to rent snorkeling gear on Castaway Cay, so bring your own goggles and snorkel if you have them. Bring a couple and you can swap out with another family member.
We brought a full face snorkel mask for our son since he has trouble with a normal setup. It made the experience a thousand times better than our last snorkeling adventure.
21. Bring along an old gift card
The lights in the state room are activated once your key card is inserted into the slot. If you need to leave and others are staying behind, just insert an old gift card (or store rewards card) in the slot and the lights will stay on.
Or just use the card all of the time so yours doesn’t get left behind as you run at the door. This happened to me once or twice.
Hopefully, this list will help you pack the most important things for your Disney Cruise. Let me know if I missed any of your first time Disney Cruise essentials!
If you’re looking for additional Disney Cruise tips be sure to check out why we think a What Teens Will Love About a Disney Cruise and this article: All the Disney Cruise Tips You Need to Know Before Embarkation Day .