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We love Disney Cruises! We have cruised on every Disney Cruise Ship and have been in every room category (even the Walt Disney and Roy Suites). Our entire family just loves the experience.
With over 30+ cruises, we have a lot of fun Disney Cruise secrets to share with you. These are just fun facts or tidbits to make your Disney vacation, even more magical. If you are looking for more tips, we have over 105 of them for planning a Disney Cruise vacation.
I learned a lot of these tips during our last cruise on the Disney Dream. Thank you to Disney Cruise for hosting our family on this cruise. Let’s dive in to the Disney Cruise secrets.
49 Disney Cruise Secrets
Higher Deck for Better Viewing of Deck Parties
Throughout the cruise, there will be Deck Parties on the upper decks of the ship. Disney actually covers the Goofy pool and turns it into a deck for the parties. One of the best views is on the deck right above the party. You get a much better view of the stage show and characters. Plus, it is not as crowded.
Welcome Aboard the Jones Family
On the first day, as you board the Disney Cruise ship, a Disney Crew member will announce you. They will say “Welcome Aboard the ____ Family!” Be sure you have your camera ready as you board the ship.
Disney Characters Share a Sneak Peek of Your Cruise Experience
As you walk into the Atrium of your Disney Cruise Ship, you will gold trim artwork around the decks. In the gold trim are Disney Characters. Look closely at the artwork. The Disney Characters are giving you a preview of what to expect on your Disney Cruise vacation. You may see Mickey and Minnie getting pictures together or Daisy relaxing in the pool. These are all sneak peeks of what you and your family will do during the cruise. It is really fun to walk up the stairs in the Atrium and look at all of the characters in the gold trim.
Disney Character Statue in Atrium
As you walk into the Atrium for the 1st time, you will probably head right for the statue of the Disney Character for a photograph. The Disney Characters are different on each Disney Cruise ship.
On the Disney Dream, is Admiral Donald. The Disney Imagineers put this statue here on purpose. They wanted this to be the focus of the Atrium and the first things cruisers that board the Disney Cruise ships see and photograph.
Children Programming Floor
As you are walking on the deck with Children Programming notice the height of the ceiling. Did you know the deck height on the floor with Children Programming is much lower? The Imagineers did this to make children feel more comfortable and secure.
Teens & Adults Can Play at Kids Club
The Oceaneer Lab, Oceaneer Club, Edge, and Vibe are the amazing kids clubs on board the Disney Cruise Ships. During normal hours, only the kids (in that age group) can participate in the secure programming. However, Disney Cruise has hours called Open House. Anyone can go into the kids club during Open House.
One of our favorites is going to Andy’s Room during Open House to get pictures. There are some really fun photo ops in this location.
FREE Video Games
Vibe is the teen club. Did you know Vibe has video games? During Open House, I like to head up to Vibe and play Galaga or Guitar Hero. These games in Vibe are free. Skip the game room and head to Vibe during the Open House hours.
One of the signature restaurants on board the Disney Cruise ships is Remy. This French inspired restaurant actually has two Chefs (one American and one French) which creates an incredible dining experience for adults.
I am sure you can guess who inspired this restaurant theme, our favorite “little chef”. Be sure you look at the back of the chairs in Remy. You will see him on the back of every chair in the restaurant.
The other signature restaurant is Palo. This restaurant is an Italian inspired restaurant. Did you know that Palo was inspired by the country that built the Disney Cruise Ships . . . Italy.
Palo is an amazing restaurant for dinner. One of my favorite steaks anywhere is at Palo. As you know we travel 200+ days of the year, so that says a lot about the quality of the food at Palo. However, I love the Palo Brunch even more. The Palo Brunch is spectacular!
Signature Restaurant Reservations
Did you know that only a limited number of dining reservations for Palo and Remy are pre-booked? If you hop online to book your dining reservations and see that Palo or Remy are sold out, do not worry.
Once you get on board the Disney Cruise Ship call the restaurant. You can call right from your stateroom phone and make a reservation. The Dining Manager for Palo told me that they save reservations for guests to book, once they are on board. Disney only makes advanced reservations for a few of the time slots. Most of the times can be booked once you board the ship.
Rainforest Day Pass
I know I have talked about the Rainforest Day Pass in our Disney Cruise videos. This is one of my favorite secrets on a Disney Cruise vacation. Did you know you can enjoy a spa day, without paying a huge spa price?
You can buy something called a Rainforest Spa Day Pass. This allows you to enjoy the spa amenities like the heated chairs, showers, sauna, and sometimes hot tubs (based on the ship). I could spend hours sleeping in those warm heated chairs. AHHHHH!
I always recommend booking the Rainforest Spa Day Passes on port days. These are the least crowded days in the spa.
I always pack an extra suitcase for my Disney Cruises. This suitcase I fill with snacks to enjoy during our Disney Cruise vacation. Almost all of your food is included on a Disney Cruise. One of the exceptions is popcorn and snacks during the shows in the Walt Disney World Theater (every evening) and during the movies in the Walt Disney World Theater or Buena Vista Theater. I pack snacks for the kids in my suitcase to enjoy during these shows like bags of popcorn, candy, or cookies.
At the end of our cruise, I have an empty suitcase to fill with all of the souvenirs.
We get asked about our packing lists a lot for a Disney Cruise vacation. You can click here for more details about our packing lists, along with a free printable.
The one item that is a must pack is Downy Wrinkle Releaser. For safety reasons, there are not irons in the staterooms. Downy Wrinkle Releaser is a life saver to quickly get wrinkles out of your cruise attire.
Here is a video all about what to pack for a Disney Cruise vacation.
On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, there is an activity called the Midship Detective Agency. This is a virtual scavenger hunt around the ship. One of the stops on this hunt is a mini stateroom door for the Muppets character called Pepe. On this door, there is a phone number for Pepe.
Did you know you can actually call Pepe? You can call him from your Wave Phone. It is a really funny experience for the kids.
Look for Pink Elephants
There are so many amazing secrets on board the Disney Cruise Ships. One of my favorite locations for secrets is in Pink. This is the Wine & Champagne Bar in The District on board the Disney Dream.
Chairs: One of the fun secrets is the chairs. The chairs in this lounge are already cool, but look at them closely. The chairs at the bottom look like the top of a champagne bottle.
Lights: The lights at the back of the bar represent champagne flowing over.
Champagne Bottle: Did you know the champagne bottle that christened the Disney Dream is behind the bar?
Find the Pink Elephant: Pink is inspired by the pink elephants from Dumbo. In the back of the lounge you will see bubbles on the wall. Look closely, you may see a pink elephant pop up in the bubbles.
Search for Hidden Mickey’s
If you love Hidden Mickey’s at the Disney Parks and Resorts, you will have a lot of fun finding them on the Disney Cruise Ships. The Disney Imagineers did hide a lot of Hidden Mickey’s in plain site on board the ships.
We ran into our friend, Steve Barrett The Hidden Mickey Guy on board the Disney Wonder. He walked around with us in Vibe to show us some of the Hidden Mickey’s.
Themed Character Outfits
Did you know the Disney Characters have a ton of costume changes during a Disney Cruise? They have costumes for the shows, they have themed costumes every night, and even themed costumes in Castaway Cay.
You may see your favorite Disney Characters throughout the ship, but they are always wearing something new and fun. You may see Goofy in his pajamas or Minnie Mouse in her formal dress or Stitch in his pirate costume. Always have your camera ready for another fun character pic!
There are character meet and greets throughout the cruise. However, some of the best character experiences are the unexpected ones around the ship; during Open House in the Children Programming, or during dance parties.
Restaurant Requests . . . Just Ask
Did you want your own table, in a circle booth at Enchanted Garden, or near the screen at Animator’s Palate? Just ask. You can stop by the Dining Manager, as soon as you board the ship and talk with them about your restaurant requests. They will try to grant your requests for you and your family.
Decorate Your Stateroom Door
The stateroom doors on board the Disney Cruise Ships are metal. This means you can decorate your door by using magnets. You can buy decorations on sites like Etsy or create your own. I love buying magnets from Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s and creating our own decorations with paper.
Specialty Coffee with Character
I started a new tradition on the last day of our cruise. I get up early and head to the Cove Cafe to get a speciality coffee with a character in the foam. This is such a fun way to start your morning!
This cruise we got a pic of Mickey Mouse. Our previous cruise was the Marvel Day at Sea and it was the logo for Captain Marvel. There is an extra fee for this coffee, but it is a lot of fun and certainly Instagram worthy.
Higher Decks to Watch Shows in the Atrium
Disney hosts a lot of shows in the Atrium throughout the cruise. One of the best spots to view the show is on the deck right above (Deck 4). It is less crowded and you can just look down with an unobstructed view.
Don’t Miss Animator’s Palate
The best rotational restaurant during a Disney Cruise is Animator’s Palate. When planning an evening at Palo or Remy, be sure you pick a day that does not conflict with Animator’s Palate. You don’t want to miss this dining experience!
Pack a Refillable Mug
The Disney Ships have beverage stations. You can get coffee, tea, and Coca Cola products at the beverage stations. These beverages are all included in the cost of your cruise.
We recommend packing a refillable Tervis Cup or water bottle. You can fill them up with your favorite beverage to enjoy in your stateroom or by the pool.
Order Room Service Coffee for the Morning
There are not coffee makers in your stateroom. If you like coffee early in the morning, you will have to walk up to the beverage station or wait until breakfast.
I like to pre-order room service. I order a pot of coffee and two cups. You can even request the time you want it delivered in the morning. It is free, but I always tip a few dollars for the delivery.
Room Service is FREE
Did you know that room service is free? You can order breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack. The room service menu is included with your cruise. The only cost is a few dollars for gratuity.
Movies Theater Movies on Board
There is a movie theater on board the Disney Ships called the Buena Vista Theater. You can watch first run movies on board the Disney Cruise. First run means movies you will actually find at the movie theaters at home.
One our Star Wars Day at Sea Cruise, we got to watch Captain Marvel the night before it was released in the theaters at home.
Pack Your Pirate Costumes
Do you love pirates? Join Captain Jack Sparrow on Pirate Night during your Disney Cruise. One of the fun parts of Pirate Night is dressing up like a pirate. Be sure you pack your pirate costumes!
Make Reservations for Select Characters
Most of the character meet and greet opportunities do not require reservations. However, there are a few that do require reservations. These characters are Anna, Elsa, and the Princess Gathering. You can book a reservation for these character experiences during your Online Check In or wait until you board the ship at the Shore Excursion Desk.
Schedule your FREE Character Call
Once you book your Disney Cruise vacation, you will get an opportunity to schedule a character phone call. I love these experiences! It is a free call from Mickey Mouse talking about your Disney Cruise vacation. It is free, so be sure you schedule the call from your Online Check In.
You Do Not Have to Get Off the Ship
During a Disney Cruise, you will have several stops at ports of call. During the port of call, you are welcome to get off the ship and explore or take a Port Adventure.
You can also chose to just stay on the ship and enjoy the ship amenities. You do not have to get off the ship. We love to ride the Aqua Duck or relax in the Rainforest Day Spa during days at port.
Dine & Play for Later Dining Times
Disney has two dining times. One dining time is early and one time is later at 8:15 PM. We know this is super late for families with younger kids. Our kids would literally fall asleep at the dinner table during our 8:15 PM dinners. It can be tough having that later dinner time.
Disney does offer a fantastic free service called Dine & Play. During the second dining time the Counselors for Children Programming will stop by the restaurants to pick up any kids that want to go to the kids club.
The children will be escorted to Oceaneer Lab or Oceaneer Club, so they can play. This allows mom and dad an opportunity to relax and enjoy the rest of their meal.
You Can Order Off Any Restaurant Menu
During your Disney Cruise, you will rotate three different restaurants. If you enjoyed a menu item on another restaurant menu, you can request it anytime.
Your server will be happy to get you the escargot from Royal Palace during your dinner at Animator’s Palate. This is one of our favorite requests.
You are welcome to order off any restaurant menu during your dinners.
The Skyline Bar is an amazing lounge in The District on board the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. The bar has interactive skylines. These skylines feature different destinations from London to Barcelona, or Hong Kong to New York. They change every few minutes to another destination. It is an incredible experience. You can even enjoy specialty drinks from each destination.
Free Speciality Coffees
If you drink a lot of speciality coffee at the coffee cafes, you could get one free. Cafes like Cove Cafe have loyalty cards. You can get a stamp every time you get a coffee. If you fill the card, you get one free.
Shirley Temples & Roy Rogers are FREE in the Dining Rooms
During your evening meal, you can request a Coca Cola product with your dinner. The sodas are included in the cost of your cruise. Your kids can even request a Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers. Those are also complimentary.
During our last cruise, our server noticed my daughter loved the cherries in the Shirley Temple. One night he brought her Shirley Temple and a cup filled with cherries. Extra magic and all included with the cost of the cruise.
Download the App
Before you leave port, be sure you download the Disney Cruise Navigator App. This app includes deck maps, activities, restaurant hours, and even a chat feature. I love the chat feature. You can keep in touch with your family members during the cruise with the chat option.
Use Wave Phones on Castaway Cay
In your stateroom, you also have Wave Phones. You will get two Wave Phones per stateroom. You can use these phone during your cruise to communicate with family members. These phones also work on Castaway Cay.
Sit Down Restaurant vs Buffet for 1st Day
During your first day on board the Disney Cruise, you will be able to enjoy lunch. Did you know you can enjoy a sit down restaurant vs the buffet? There is usually one or two sit down restaurants open besides the buffet. The buffet restaurants can get very crowded, so I like the experience of a sit down restaurant where I can order my a la carte meal.
I do like to pack snacks with me to eat during the shows at the Walt Disney World Theater or Buena Vista Theater. There is one snack I still like to purchase. I love the popcorn!
You can purchase a box of popcorn or they offer a refillable popcorn option. For the longer cruises, the refillable popcorn is a great value. Plus, some of the containers are really cute.
Disney Cruise Merchandise Rotates
During your cruise, be sure you check out the merchandise shops. Each day of the cruise, they will rotate merchandise. If you find something you really like, go ahead and purchase the item. You may not see it during the rest of your cruise.
Castaway Cay Merch Only on the Island
The merchandise on Castaway Cay is exclusive to the island. You will not find this merch on the ship. If you see something you like at Castaway Cay, be sure you purchase it while you are on the island.
Talk with the Crew
During our Disney Dream cruise, there were over 60 different countries represented on the ship. We love chatting with the crew about their country and life. It is a great learning experience for the kids!
So Many ICE CREAMS!
Did you know the Disney Dream serves 5,000 ice creams a day? I was shocked when the Cruise Director told us this fun fact. I know my son probably had about 20 of those ice creams! You can get unlimited ice cream on board the Disney Cruise Ships and Castaway Cay.
Be the 1st Ones on Castaway Cay
Do you want to be the 1st ones on Castaway Cay? One of the first groups off the ship is the runners for the Castaway Cay 5K. Did you know the whole family can get off the ship with the runners, even if you are not running? We like to get off and find a spot at Pelican Plunge for our stuff. Then we stroll over to the race to watch the rest of the family run the 5K.
Fireworks at Sea, Except Alaska
Disney is the only company that offers fireworks at sea. It is an amazing experience for the whole family. Did you know the Cruise Director is actually in charge of the ship during the fireworks? He is actually responsible for the safety of the crew, guests, and ships during the fireworks. So, he is actually in charge of navigating the ship during the fireworks show, not the Captain of the ship. With great power, comes great responsibility! LOL!
Disney hosts fireworks during almost all of their cruises, except the Alaska Cruises. They work with the local authorities to make sure it is safe for the location. Alaska is one of the locations they do not host the fireworks.
Broadway Performers in Disney Shows
The evening Disney shows are truly spectacular. Some of the Disney shows, like Beauty and the Beast are better than shows we have seen on Broadway in New York City. Plus, these shows are FREE! I did not have to pay $100-200 per person to see a new show every evening on the Disney Cruise.
Did you know some of the performers on the Disney Cruise Ships are actual Broadway performers? On the Disney Dream, Gaston and the Father of Belle were both past Broadway performers. Pretty amazing!
More Ice Cream & Ice Cream Sandwich
Disney has beverage stations on board the Disney Cruise Ships. You can pop over to a beverage station anytime of day to get a soda, coffee, or tea. We like to get a cup and then head to the ice cream station. You can use a cup and fill it to the top with ice cream! This also works well if you have a gluten free allergy. Make sure you grab a spoon to eat it with, too!
On Castaway Cay, we also like to add to the sweet treat by making an ice cream sandwich. You can get two chocolate chip cookies from Cookies or Cookies Too and fill it with ice cream to make a huge ice cream sandwich. This is one of our favorite treats on a Disney Cruise!
These are just a few of the secrets on board the Disney Cruise Ship. For tips on a Disney Cruise vacation, we have a post with over 105 tips! This is an epic guide to your Disney Cruise vacation.
If you need some guidance on packing for a Disney Cruise, check out this post with a free checklist.
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