If you are planning on taking a Disney cruise, it can be a little overwhelming to think of everything that you need to do before you leave. But preparing in advance will make for an even better experience, so check out this list of things to do before a Disney cruise, and get ready to cruise!
Disclosure: Affiliate links within. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post may result in a commission paid to us at no additional expense to you. We have traveled on one media cruise and two cruises as part of Disney Social Media Moms.
Things to Do Before A Disney Cruise
Get Your Dining Time Booked
The Disney Cruise Line offers two meal times – the main seating (around 6pm) and the second seating (around 8:30pm). The first seating fills up quickly, so if that’s what you want, be sure to reserve it early. On board hostesses can help switch meal times, but it’s easiest to do it in advance.
Plan Your Hotel the Night Before
If you are flying into your port of call, I recommend arriving the night before. That way, you won’t have to worry about flight delays and can schedule an earlier on board time. When staying overnight, you can choose to stay by the port, at the airport, at Walt Disney World, or somewhere else in the area. When we cruise out of Port Canaveral, we stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport. See reviews on TripAdvisor.
Book Transportation to the Port
If you are flying to your port, you’ll need to get to the port somehow. Disney shuttle buses are available for an additional fee, or you can rent a car and drive to the port yourself (remember that parking at the port is available, but costs extra).
Check In As Soon As You Can
Once you check in, you can choose your on board time (this has changed, and those who book transportation through Disney will no longer choose an on board time) and book your excursions and special dinners. So, when can you check in to your Disney cruise? Silver Castaway Club members (one cruise) can check in 90 days before sailing, gold members (five cruises) can check in 105 days before sailing, and platinum members (ten cruises) can check in 120 days before sailing.
If this is your first cruise, you’ll need to wait until 75 days before sailing. Since the earlier times are taken first, and many excursions and on-shore experiences are limited, be sure to check in as soon as possible.
When you check in, you’ll also fill out the guest information form, the payment authorization form for your on board purchases, along with other forms.
Schedule Your Excursions and Any Special Meals
When you check in, you are also able to book port excursions and meals at Palo and Remy (if your ship has those as an option). Again, these are all limited, so book as soon as possible. You are usually not charged right away – but confirm that when booking.
If you need special services on board, like a Sharps box, a communication kit (for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing), or a wheelchair-accessible room, you can fill out a form you’ll find online during the check-in process. The form needs to be mailed or faxed in about a month before your trip.
Sign Kids Up for Camp
Disney Cruise Line’s kids’ club is free to attend, but you’ll save time by registering your children in advance. Don’t worry – you won’t have to select attendance times!
Fish extenders are totally optional, but they are a really fun way to enhance your cruise. To participate, first find your cruise on the DISBoards forum, and sign up. Then, you’ll need to buy/make a fish extender to hang on the “fish” near your stateroom door. Finally, you’ll need to make or purchase a bunch of fun little treats for your fellow cruisers. Here’s everything you need to know about Fish Extenders.
Get Decorations for Your Stateroom Door
Lots of families decorate their stateroom doors before going on a Disney cruise, so check out my post on decorating your Disney Cruise Line stateroom door.