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What To Do On Your Disney Cruise

What To Do On Your Disney Cruise

What to Expect on a Disney Cruise

You’ve booked your cabin and purchased your plane tickets. You’re super excited about your first Disney Cruise, but you’re not really sure what to expect? Luckily for you, we’ve been there and we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about what to do on a Disney Cruise.

Things to Do Once You are Onboard Your Disney Cruise Ship

You made it through the embarkation process. Your family is now onboard the Disney Cruise Ship ready for your journey on the high seas. You all look around in wonder, and grab a map of the cruise ship. You look at each other with trepidation and ask, “Now what?” Here’s a rundown of some of the things you can expect while on your Disney Cruise and things you don’t want to miss out on.

Get Advanced Tickets to the Princess Meet and Greets

Anna and Elsa were a big deal when we were on our Disney Cruise. I mean a big thing. And there was only one way to see the princesses. You needed a ticket to a behind-closed-doors meet and greet. I got in queue as soon as we boarded the ship while my wife took the kids to the poolside buffet. We didn’t want to tell our daughter about the meet and greet in case we couldn’t secure tickets.

What to do on a Disney Cruise Frozen Characters
Our Daughter with Anna and Elsa

You’ll want to do a little research before you board to discover if there are similar exclusive engagements with limited tickets. We were fortunate to get tickets, but that’s because we had done our research.

Catch the Embarkation Deck Show

Every good Bon Voyage cruise party needs a show. Disney is no exception. As you set sail from your embarkation port, You can join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck for a poolside deck party including line dancing. This is Disney, so everything is timed to the second, including the captain blowing the ship’s horn to announce the raising of the anchor and the start of your vacation at sea.

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Character Meet and Greets

Throughout your cruise, your family will have opportunity to meet several Disney characters. You’ll want to carefully check each day’s agenda to find characters and times. Lines for the character meet and greets can be long, so you’ll want to arrive early, especially if you have impatient young children. Some characters will have several meet and greet times, but other characters are more limited. For example, we were able to meet Jack Sparrow only on Pirate Night. Check with cruise staff for which characters are available multiple times to save yourself heartache later.

What to do on a Disney Cruise - Meet and Greet
Some of the characters we got to meet during our Disney Cruise

Make Sure to See the Shows

This is Disney, so the evening stage shows are phenomenal. On our cruise, we saw Aladdin. Disney also brings world-class entertainers on board. We had a great time with family-friendly magicians and a balloon artist. But, the Disney produced shows are exceptional – the best we have seen on a cruise. The shows are no additional cost to you, so take advantage of the opportunity.

Get a Spa Treatment

While your kids are in the kids’ club, it’s time for you to take some time for yourself. There’s no better way than spending some time at the spa. There are many spa treatments from which to choose. Also, you can purchase a day pass, which allows you access to the spa’s relaxation room.


Disney Cruise Line

Get Your Kid Made Up as a Princess or a Pirate

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is the place to go for your child to get a royal makeover. The staff at the boutique work wonders preparing your princess’s hair and makeup. But, boys can get in on the action too. During Pirate Night, the Princess parlor is turned into a nefarious pirate’s parlor to get your rogue pirate in makeup and garb. The pirates even get a special pirate name and recite a pirate pledge.

What to do on a Disney Cruise Pirate Night
Aaargh! All ready for Pirate Night during our Disney Cruise.

Our daughter had two appointments at the Boutique. She was given a princess makeover, and she and her brother both received the pirate treatment.

What to do on a Disney Cruise Princess Makeover
Our daughter learns that it takes a lot of work to be a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Eat in different dining rooms

Disney has rotational dining, meaning that your family will eat in a different dining room each night. On a Disney Cruise, you will rotate between three dining rooms – the Enchanted Garden, the Royal Court and the Animator’s Palate, for example. Each has a different ambiance and dinner entertainment. Most everyone enjoys the Animator’s Palate, where one evening you make have a lively conversation with Crush, the very hip sea turtle from Finding Nemo, or watch an animated feature created from artwork you design. Your wait staff also follows you to each dining room, and they are quick to discover your culinary likes and dislikes. Each dinner, our staff made sure that our kids had their desired drinks when we reached the table.

Additionally, there are other dining rooms that require advanced reservations. Of course, your family always can enjoy the buffets available throughout the ship.

Be a Part of the Midship Detective Agency

Disney has an interactive game on board that is perfect for families. Throughout the ship are a number of art pieces that become interactive and live. These are a part of the Midship Detective Agency. Basically, you become a detective and try to solve a mystery using the clues found in the art pieces. Our family participated in three separate mysteries – such as trying to find out which Disney villain stole a piece of artwork, or which Muppet character stole the show. The kids were hesitant at first to participate, but  by the end of the cruise they were begging for another mystery to solve.

What To Do on a Disney Cruise Midship Detective Agency
Some of the game pieces from Midship Detective Agency

Catch a Movie

You can watch movies poolside on a big screen. But, Disney Cruise ships also have an indoor movie house, showing the newest Disney features. Showtimes are posted for both each day in your Navigator. Smart tip: concessions at the indoor movie house are an additional expense, so we suggest grabbing from snacks and beverage from the buffet to take into the theater.

Enjoy the Pools and Slides

This one seems obvious, but you will want to make time for it. Also, be aware that some of the pools and slides have posted hours. The main attraction is the over-water AquaDuck slide. The lines for the AquaDuck are long during the day, but we found the lines short after dinner before it closes for the evening. And a ride at night makes the AquaDuck extra special.

What to do on a Disney Cruise Slide
Our son finished a ride down one of Disney Fantasy’s water slides

Keep up with Events with the Navigator

The Navigator, a newsletter that is delivered to your stateroom cabin nightly, contains a calendar of events for each day. Every activity for the day is listed in the Navigator, along with daily spa deals, dining room hours, and other tidbits.

What to do on a Disney Cruise Navigator
A copy of your Navigator is left nightly in your stateroom cabin

You will be lost if you don’t carry your Navigator with you. It is your best resource for making the most of your onboard experience.

Goofy Virtual Sports Simulator

While our daughter met princesses or had a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover, our son spent time at the Goofy Virtual Sports Simulator. Availability is very limited, so we booked his two one-hour play times before our cruise. He was able to golf, play hockey, and play baseball in the simulator. As a bonus, the room is air-conditioned, so it was a nice cool spot to spend some time.

Go to Themed Night Parties

Pirate night is the golden standard of Disney Cruise Theme nights. On Pirate Night, everyone goes to the pool deck for a rollicking pirate party filled with bad Shiver Me Timber puns and a lot of “Aaarghhs.” The festivities are capped with a fireworks display. Don’t worry, the fireworks are environmentally friendly so they will not harm the ocean life.

Disney now has Marvel Comics and Star Wars Themed nights. So depending on your cruise choice, you may get to be a matey on a pirate crew one night and fight against the Dark Side another night.


Disney Cruise Line

Make the Most Of It

Ultimately, your Disney Cruise will be what you make of it. If you enjoy lounging by the pool, enjoy. If you need to keep busy and meet every Disney Character, you will have ample opportunity to do so. And we haven’t even mentioned the adventures you can have during shore days.


You Might Also Like

Read our tips for What to Know Before You Board Your First Disney Cruise.

Worried about cruising with kids? You can Cruise with Kids, and It’s Easier Than You Think.


Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Family Well Traveled may be compensated, at no additional cost to you, when you click and make a purchase from these links. 

What is your favorite thing to do on a Disney Cruise? Did we leave anything out? Please, leave a comment and let us know.

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24 thoughts on “What To Do On Your Disney Cruise”

  • I really don’t like cruises because I get seasick but this cruise sounds very fun if you have kids!

    • It is fun. We have not had problems with seasickness. We do notice that lots of people wear a patch on their necks to help prevent seasickness.

  • Wow, it looks like there is tons of fun stuff to do on the Disney cruise, both for the kids and adults. The pirate and princess makeovers are wonderful. I’m sure your kids were just thrilled, just as I would be with the spa portion of the event!

  • I’ve heard wonderful things about Disney cruises… now I know why! My nieces and nephews would go bonkers over this. We went with them to Disney World and had to have a game plan so I can only imagine how helpful it is for the cruise too.

    • I’m a planner, so I always have a game plan. We’re headed to Disney World later this year, and we’re getting our playbook ready!

  • My nephew and niece will definitely be thrilled on a Disney Cruise! My niece, particularly, is in love with Ana and Elsa and I couldn’t imagine how happy she will be to meet them in person. 🙂

  • I have a little girl that would love this (and an older boy who would pretend not to enjoy it but secretly love it). My girl wore a Cinderella dress for two years straight haha. Great tips especially if you have never gone on a cruise before. The best tip is, ‘make the most of it’!

    • Our son wasn’t “all that into it” either, but as the week wore on, he became more and more agreeable. He secretly loved it.

  • Looks like you guys had tonnes of fun! Disney Cruises must be such a wonderful experience for younger kids. I can imagine their joy at seeing their favourite characters come to life! I’ve never been on one and am too old to go on one now but I enjoyed this post so much.

    • Mohana, you’re never too old. Many adults and couples love to cruise Disney. They just choose different activities during their trip.

  • We have not yet done a cruise, but as a travel family, Disney would be the epitome of cruising for kids! There is such an incredible amount of variety and activities for any ages, and I think that the pools, slides, night shows and even the spa would be a huge hit in our family. And are you ever too old to enjoy the characters?

    • Cruising as a family is so much fun. You need to try it. I agree that there are some characters you never outgrow,

  • I’ve never been much of a cruiser, but I also don’t have little ones. If we had kids, I think this would be a PERFECT way to go! They get to see their idols, and we get to see the world. Sounds like a total win win!!

    • It is a win win. I didn’t think I was much of a cruiser, either, until I took our first cruise for our honeymoon. I was hooked. Now our entire family is hooked on cruising.

  • I’m so glad you can get advanced tickets for the meet and greet! I love planning ahead so I appreciate tips like these. My family would LOVE a Disney cruise, thanks for sharing!

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