What you need to know before you go on your Disney Cruise

Have you locked in your Disney Cruise Australia booking? Disney Cruise Lines is heading to Australia for the first time, and it’s such a great opportunity for Australians to get a taste of Disney in our own backyard. Sailing out of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from October 2023, you’ll be able to meet your favourite characters, enjoy themed dining, be in awe of Broadway-style shows, and just have an all-round magical time aboard your cruise.

No doubt this is a big investment for your family, so you’ll want to make sure to milk every magical moment from your Disney Cruise, so take in these tips, and get ready to go sailing…

Disney Cruise Australia: Everything you need to know

Image: @tatianacan2

First up, Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App.

This is going to be your everything for when you cruise with Disney. Use it from home to plan your trip, book activities and check-in online. While on the cruise you can use it to chat with family and friends, and receive digital receipts. Download the free App here.

Image: @lovebrandimarie

Next, start curating a Disney-themed outfit, or two.

If you’ve never visited a Disney park or sailed on a Disney cruise before, you should know that at anything Disney-related, people wear Disney clothing. Some will go full Disney theme the whole cruise, others a little Disney here and there, and some will opt for no Disney at all. So don’t feel pressured, because there’s no uniform of course – but I think it’s always nice to know in case you want to jump on board the Disney enthusiasm train!

Australian stores that often offer Disney clothing are Cotton On, Best & Less, Big W and Target. You can also buy custom made pieces from Etsy, or even buy from the Disney store online.

Then, get match fit for ALL the free soft serve.

How much ice cream will you consume on your trip? (Or moreso how much will the kids consume?). There is no answer. Eat as much as you like.

Be up to date with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

At present Disney is advising that all travelers aged 12 and over will need to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Passengers with a medical exemption are permitted to travel without COVID-19 vaccination. Disney also states, “All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, 2 years of age and older must take a PCR test within 48 hours before boarding, or a self-administered rapid antigen test within 24 hours before boarding. Guests under 2 years of age do not require testing.”

Book in early for all the ‘extras’.

Disney’s Magic at Sea bookings have started opening up, so use the App to start booking any extras you want. If your cruise is stopping at a port or two, you’ll want to book your port activities ahead of time. Other extras include treatments at the spa, and fitness assessments. If you want to book at the Adult’s Only dining experience, Palo, then you’ll need to book in advance. Lastly, if you have a little Prince or Princess who wants to be transformed, book a spot at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. These generally book out quickly.

Bring-Your-Own Lanyard.

When cruising your key room card becomes your everything, it’s your credit card and room access key in one. Your room key is called “your key to the world”. It’s not that normal to carry around a bag, so most people will have their room key on a lanyard for ease. Of course it makes sense to have a Disney-themed lanyard. There are some available on the ship, but if you want to get organised, buy before you go. The ones above are from Etsy, there are loads of options.

Or pre-order a DisneyBand+.

Instead of carrying around a lanyard and card, you can opt for the DisneyBand+ (as seen above) that you can use to access your stateroom, board the ship, and also interact with parts of the ship. Note: This is a very new offering, there’s no information on whether this will be available on Disney Cruises Australia, so stay tuned for more information. On our recent trip to Disneyland we used the MagicBand+ and loved them, so I’d be keen to take on this offer (just one per family is enough for a cruise).

Know what’s included in your Disney Cruise.

You can step on board and relax, and know everything is covered (you can pay for extras if you choose). What’s included in your booking? Broadway-style entertainment, immersive dining experiences (expect singing while you dine), character meet and greets, your stateroom accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and room service, pools and waterslides, kids club, adults only pools, bar and lounges.

Pack light, it’ll be alright.

Cruise staterooms aren’t roomy. In fact they’re generally the opposite. Try to pack light so you can have more room to move about your cabin. Empty suitcases can generally be stored under beds, but if you’re only going for a few nights, a soft bag can sometimes be easier to store. Either way, don’t over pack.

But also, pack a carry on.

Once you board the ship, there will be a period where you’ll be roaming the ship and waiting to go into you room. This could be hours, so have a carry on bag with essentials while you wait. You might like to pack swimwear for the kids and yourself, and sunscreen.

Bring decorations for your stateroom door.

Yep, decorations. I know this seems OTT, but most things Disney are. When we’ve cruised before, we’ve brought a subtle decoration (a ribbon or something similar) so that the kids could recognise which room is ours – because there are rows and rows of doors. Disney Wonder’s Stateroom doors are metal, so you can decorate with magnets. There are some customisable options on Etsy which I’m currently eyeing off.

Just make sure your decorations are magnetic. Adhesive is not OK to use on the doors, and if they have any damage there will be a USD$100 fine.

Bring a little Disney Pixie Dust with you.

Pixie Dust? It’s a little Disney-style thank you for Cast Members and fellow travelers. When visiting Disney Parks we bring little Aussie-themed gifts for cast members and characters, many others will make small gifts to offer to cast members. These can be homemade crafts, little notes etc. Have some family fun and create little gifts to take along with you. Note: Homemade foods are not allowed, so don’t bring that in.

Once on the ship, indulge in the free Room Service.

It’s available 24/7 and it’s free (although some items and beverages will incur a fee). Want fries at 1am? Why not! Go for it. Other room service offerings are breakfast items, healthy burgers, hot dogs, fresh salads, appetisers, grilled salmon, and delicious desserts.

Tiana’s Place: One of the restaurants on board Disney Wonder | Image: @mr_camjaxn

Don’t stress about dinner reservations.

You’ll be automatically assigned a restaurant to eat at each night for dinner, making sure that you rotate through each restaurant on the ship. So, there’s no need to stress about making reservations, all the work is done for you. You’ll be able to pick between a Main Seating (5:45pm) or a Late Seating.

Get in line early for Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.

The Frozen musical is going to be super popular, so line up early to assure that you get a seat. If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure to grab a booster seat on the way in through the entry doors, so you don’t have to double back.

Enjoy the free WiFi, but only once you’re out at sea.

Each stateroom will be gifted free WiFi but only up to 50MB (which isn’t much), but make sure you use your mobile reception for as long as possible, and then tap into the WiFi after that. You can purchase more data if needed.

Eat Beignets at Tiana’s Place.

It’s the hottest (literally) dessert on the ship. Beignets (ben-yays) are a donut-style dessert that is super popular at Disneyland, so I can’t wait to try these.

Don’t forget your dress code.

While most restaurants have a casual dress code, all have a strict no swimwear or tank top rule.

Tip your cast members.

Tipping isn’t something that is as common in Australia as it is in the States. Some cast members rely on tips, so do keep that in mind. Disney Cruise Lines recommend that you tip USD$14.50 per person, per night of your stay. These tips will be shared with your Stateroom Host, and your Dining Room servers.

Book your Disney Cruise Australia here.

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