For Central Floridians, one of the easiest vacations to take with small children is a Disney Cruise! No airplanes to board, no luggage restrictions (we had seven checked bags on our recent cruise!) — it’s just a quick jaunt east on the 528, and your vacation awaits.
We had taken a Disney Cruise once before with our daughter who was 2-years-old at the time. This time around though we took our 7 month old son and our now 3.5 year old daughter on a 7-Night cruise. The hardest thing was packing and thinking of all the logistics for them for the cruise from supplies, baby snacks, safety items, and clothing. Disney Cruise Line does an amazing job accommodating families with small children (pack n’ plays and Diaper Genies in the room, bed rails, bottle warmers to borrow etc.), but I needed to bring some things just for us to function easier.
So from one mom to another, here are my 9 random things to pack to make your Disney Cruise experience easier.
1. Laundry Tote with Handle
This was a lifesaver! Our first cruise, we had stuff everywhere! I hung this on the adjoining room’s door handle and *poof,* no clothes all over the cabin! I scored one for $3 at Target during their Back to College sale. PLUS, if I felt like doing laundry on the ship, it’s easy to carry to the launderette.
2. BONUS TIP:
Pack some dryer sheets in a plastic baggie. They can also be used to freshen up your luggage that may be filled with dirty clothes on the return trip home.
3. Foldable Step Stool
This was a must so our daughter didn’t have to wake us up in the middle of the night for assistance. We left it in the bathroom (Disney Cruise Line has a split bathroom plan; tub and sink on one side/ toilet and sink on the other) and she was able to use it to use the restroom as well as reach the sink, thanks to the boost!
Each night with turn down service, your room steward leaves a printed schedule for the next day (called the Personal Navigator). Once the kids were asleep, I would highlight things I wanted us to do the next day. The highlighter made it easier to mark up the timeline of events. There is an app for your phone you can use on-board with all the information as well, I used that a lot, but sometimes the paper was just easier to see it all in one place rather than across several screens. BONUS TIP: Bring a different colored highlighter for each family member!
5. Blank Gift Card
To save energy, the staterooms aboard the Fantasy and the Dream require you to insert a card into the light switch which completes the circuit, thus turning on the electricity in your room. Rather than using our Key to The World Card (basically your form of payment/ID as you cruise) and risk turning the lights out on someone when you left the room, we let our daughter pick out a blank gift card at Disney Springs to bring on the ship. She chose Sofia the First, and it hung near the electrical slot, ready to be used.
6. BONUS TIP:
Add a piece of magnet on the back and stick it to the wall so you don’t lose the card when it’s not in use.
7. Cardboard Drink Carrier
We saved one from our favorite fast food place and used it to carry drinks from the pool deck back to our room. The pool deck drink station is pretty much where you can always get a free beverage 24/7, and to carry a few drinks back to your room can sometimes be cumbersome. BONUS TIP: Disney Cruise Line has removed straws from its ships to help with the environment, so bringing a pack of paper straws, reusable metal ones, or your child’s sippy cup straws may help your family with beverages.
Clothespins will help you effectively use the clotheslines in the shower. Without them, you lose a lot of hanging space when you have to drape items over the line. They can also be used to keep the room divider curtain or window curtains secure.
9. Hanging Pocket Organizer
This was probably my favorite item that helped me keep the room clean. The pack n’ play was near our main countertop and I knew all the little things on the counter could easily get lost, or perhaps fall into his crib and turn into a choking hazard. So I bought a hanging organizer and placed it on the wall hooks near our bed. Hair brushes, bows, batteries, random toys and more all got placed into this clear hanging bag (double-sided too!) and kept our countertop relatively clean.
We can’t wait for our next family vacation aboard Disney Cruise Line, and after experiencing this past cruise with two kids, I definitely have some additional things to add to my must-have packing list. What are some of yours?