I love sailing on the Disney Cruise Line and have spent many days and nights exploring the five ships that I’ve been on. There is so much to see and do on the ships – you may even find yourself wanting to skip some ports of call so that you can stay on the ship and continue exploring and having fun. If you are planning a Disney Cruise, here are some must-dos on the Disney Cruise Line.
Some are for only adults, while some are for families, so plan accordingly (my kids usually love being in the kids’ clubs, so we have plenty of time). In addition, not all activities are on every ship/sailing, so check your Disney Cruise Line Navigator app for details. Be sure to check out these posts for information on the specific ships.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links and an affiliate phone number. A purchase through one of these links may result in a small commission paid to us.
When booking a Disney Cruise, I recommend booking with Get Away Today. Plus, when you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 onboard credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929.
Everything you need to know about the Disney Fantasy
Everything you need to know about the Disney Dream
Everything you need to know about the Disney Wonder
Guide to the Disney Magic
Guide to the Disney Wish
Must Do Things to Do on the Disney Cruise Line
Relax at The Rainforest Room at the Senses Spa
Book a day or length of cruise pass to the rainforest room at the Senses spa on board the ships. Featuring rainforest-themed showers, a sauna, a steam room, hot tubs, and more, the rainforest room is a great way to relax on your vacation. Senses spa is only open to those aged 18 and older, so settle the kids into the kids club before relaxing.
I love to do this at least once during my cruise. Of course, you could also do a spa treatment, but the rainforest room is a nice way to experience the spa without getting a treatment.
The Rainforest Room designs and amenities vary by ship. My favorite is the Rainforest Room on the new Disney Wish. It has a cold room, heated loungers, rainforest showers, a steam room, a sauna, and a beautiful outdoor area that is perfect for relaxing. Visit early in your trip to purchase a pass.
Coffee at the Cove
Regular coffee is free on the Disney Cruise Line, but I always love to head to the adult-only Cove Cafe for some specialty coffee. While an additional fee does apply, the Cove Cafe is a relaxing oasis on board the ship.
If my kids are occupied at the kids’ club, I often bring a book to the cafe and enjoy my beverage in solitude. The Cove Cafe also offers complimentary premium desserts. Ask for a coffee card, and you’ll get a complimentary coffee after completing all of the punches on the card.
With the kids? Premium coffee is also available in other locations on the ship without the adult-only restriction. There are several spots on all of the ships – including in the Cabanas or Marceline Market buffet areas.
Learn and Taste at a Beverage Seminar
When I cruise with my friends, one of our favorite things is to enjoy a beverage seminar (or two). You can find out about them through the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. I recommend booking one right away so that you can get the type and time that you prefer. They do reserve up in advance.
Typically, the beverage seminars can be booked when your regular booking window opens. Occasionally, there will be availability once you are onboard, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
I’ve done many different beverage seminars; my favorites are the martini, wine, and mixology. They are pretty short but are definitely fun and informative. I prefer to do them on a day at sea when I have more time for onboard activities.
Experience the AquaDuck/AquaDunk/AquaMouse
If traveling on the Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, don’t miss a chance to ride on the AquaDuck. On our first trip on the Dream, it was chilly outside so I skipped it, and then I regretted it for a year.
Get in line early in the day, when it first opens, and then you’ll probably have the chance to ride it over and over again. We usually do that if it’s a port of call day when we’ve decided to stay on the ship.
On the Disney Magic, you can ride on the new AquaDunk, a three-story body slide. I haven’t been on it, but it’s apparently loads of fun. It’s a steep drop, so you have to like slides to want to do it.
The Disney Wish offers the AquaMouse, part watercoaster, part attraction. It also uses a float that can accommodate two riders. The AquaMouse is definitely my favorite of the three types of water coasters.
You’ll find that it’s especially popular because it’s so new. So, it’s a good idea to get in line when it first opens. Or, another great time to ride is when you return to the ship from Castaway Cay, as long as you get back a little early.
Play (and Maybe Win) Bingo
My kids and I love playing Bingo on our cruises. It’s not about winning (although that’s definitely great). The whole experience is fun. Kids can play, although they can’t win, so they do need to be with an adult.
We try to play at least once or twice per cruise. Bingo on the Disney Cruise Line is definitely an experience, and it can get crowded, so arrive early for presale. We’ve found that it’s especially busy on days when the weather isn’t great. It doesn’t have to be booked in advance, but you will want to arrive when the presale starts.
Meet Your Favorite Disney Characters
My kids are a little too old for characters, but they still cannot miss any opportunity to see their favorites on the ship. In general, the lines to greet the characters on board the ships are usually shorter than those in the theme parks, so it won’t take much time out of your trip.
Check out the Navigator app to see the specific times that the characters are greeting guests, and arrive a few minutes early. If your ship includes a stop at Castaway Cay, you’ll also find characters on the island, making for a great photo opportunity.
Take an Animation Class
My son loves to draw, so we couldn’t miss the animation classes that are offered on the ship. They are free, and everyone – kids and adults – can learn how to draw a character while also learning a little bit about the history of Disney animation. As a bonus, ask the instructor if you can have her/his drawing. My son did that, and it’s still hanging in his room years later.
Eat an Adult-Only Meal at Palo
I love the food on the Disney Cruise Line, but Palo is extra special. This adult-only restaurant does require an extra fee, but it’s completely worth it.
When going for dinner, my husband and I usually make a later reservation, so we sit with our kids during their meal, and then they head to the kids’ club while we go to Palo. They also offer brunch on select days. Make reservations as early as you can to make sure you get your time preference.
During our last sailing on the Disney Wish, my 18-year-old daughter was so excited to finally experience her first Palo brunch. It’s a great experience, and all of the food is so delicious.
There are usually a few different trivia games scheduled during sailing, and my kids love to do at least one. We usually try to do one during a day at sea, to help break up the day.
Some of the trivia games are usually targeted to 18+ while others are family-friendly. There are a lot of options including movie, quotes, general Disney, and music trivia.
Watch or Participate in the Game Shows
The family game shows are one of our absolute must-dos on the Disney Cruise Line. My kids love them, and we try to participate (rather than spectate) whenever we can. Get there early, sit in the front, and show your enthusiasm when the host is looking for participants.
What are your must-dos on the Disney Cruise Line?
If you plan a cruise leaving out of Port Canaveral, you may want to stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando airport (see reviews here). You may also want to look at Fish Extender information and Disney Cruise Line Door Magnet Info.
More Disney Cruise Ships Resources: Click to read more about the Disney Cruise Line ships including restaurants, tips, itineraries, activities, and more.