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A Disney cruise is a dream vacation for families. Knowing you’ll have everything you need is one way to lessen the stress of planning. This complete Disney cruise packing list will ensure you don’t forget anything, whether it’s a cute outfit or cute magnets for your stateroom door.
Disney cruises are incredible vacations. It’s like getting the best of both — a Disney parks vacation and a cruise — all wrapped into one easy package.
However, unlike a Disney parks vacation, what and how much you pack for a Disney Cruise will depend on your cruise itinerary and the length of your cruise. Sailing to Alaska for a week requires different clothes than a 5-day sail through the Caribbean.
And of course, there is limited space aboard the ship. Even the most spacious Concierge Suite on each cruise ship is still limited in size and storage space. I urge you to mix and match your attire as best you can to save room in your suitcase (and stateroom)!
Here we give you the details on everything you need on your Disney cruise packing list, and everything you should leave at home!
Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Day
The day you board your Disney cruise ship for the first time is called “Embarkation Day.” It requires a packing strategy all its own. That’s because you will be separated from your luggage for most of the day.
Here’s how it works:
When you get to the cruise terminal in Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line luggage handlers will take that heavy suitcase off your hands and deliver it straight to your cabin. (Just one of the ship terms you’ll want to learn before your cruise, a cabin or stateroom is cruise lingo for your room onboard.)
That’s the good part. The bad part: You don’t know what time you will see your suitcase again. It could be way past the kids’ bedtime before the bags show up.
That’s why it’s important to also pack a roll-aboard suitcase or day bag with a few necessities.
What to Pack for Embarkation Day
Depending on how early you board on Embarkation Day, you’ll have time to explore the ship and eat lunch before you will be invited to head to your stateroom. So you’ll want to have a few things with you.
These are items you must pack in the carry-on you will keep with you throughout the day:
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- Cruise and travel documents
- Passport or birth certificate and government-issued ID
- Prescription medications
- Cash/credit cards
- Cell phone
- Unopened drinks or alcohol (more on this in a minute)
Next are some items that are nice to have with you, but not always necessary. The pools will be open when you arrive on board, but they can be crowded. On some previous cruises, we have gone to the pool. Other times we opted to forego the pool and spend the time exploring the ship. If you want the option to go to the pool, then move your swimsuits to the “must take” pile for your carry-on.
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- Swimsuit cover-up
- Motion sickness medication (such as Sea Bands)
- Portable charger
- Reading material (books, magazines, Amazon Kindle)
- Towel clips (these come in handy on the pool deck)
- Lanyard (this is great for holding your Key to the World cruise card)
Disney Cruise Line Food and Beverage Policy
If you choose to bring food or drinks onto Disney cruise ships, they MUST go in your carry-on. DCL limits guests 21 and older to two bottles of unopened wine/champagne or six beers at the beginning of your sailing. Don’t forget your own corkscrew if you plan to open your wine in your stateroom!
Wine/champagne may be brought to the main dining rooms. There is a $25 corkage fee per bottle, and the Cast Members will store your bottle for you to drink each night at dinner.
As far as other food goes, the DCL website states that guests MAY BRING:
- Nonperishable snack foods in sealed, original packaging. All items must either be consumed prior to returning to your home port or remain unopened.
- Breast milk, in carry-on luggage only.
- Coolers no larger than 12″ x 12″ x 12″, as carry-on luggage for storing medications, baby food or items related to dietary restrictions only.
One of the perks of sailing on a Disney cruise ship is that all sodas, coffees and teas are included in the cost of the cruise with meals and at the beverage stations. Bar drinks, beer, wine, smoothies, specialty coffees and bottled water are an additional charge.
Disney Gear to Pack
Next, let’s talk about the all-important Disney gear you will need to pack. The kids will want their princess dresses and every Disney cruise has a Pirate Night, so you’ll definitely want to pack your pirate best!
Plus, dressing up just ramps up the fun for everyone. Even adults can get into the act with some cute Mickey ears and Minnie-inspired polka dot dresses. Or make it a family affair with matching t-shirts for everyone! Check out Etsy for some really cute Disney cruise gear, from t-shirts to Disney cruise nail decals.
We’re Amazon Prime members, so one of our favorite places to get pirate gear is Amazon when we need the gear to arrive quickly. Amazon sells several pirate costumes, accessories and shirts. If you don’t wait until the last minute (like I do), shopDisney.com is also a great place to look for more official Disney pirate gear, but quick shipping will cost you extra.
Additionally, your children may wish to participate in the makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Pirates League. Save yourself an extra expense by bringing a princess dress or pirate costume from home for this experience.
Disney Door Magnets
These magical magnets are fun and also serve a real purpose: They can help you and the kids easily find your cabin door from among the loooooong hallway of cabin doors.
Mickey Ears with the name of each member of your family are a popular option. We even have a TravelingMom tutorial on how to make them with templates!
Just remember: Only magnets are allowed. No tape or glue of any kind can be used to adhere the decorations to your cabin door.
Do I Need Formal Clothes for a Disney Cruise?
Disney cruises are, for the most part, casual affairs. Sundresses or collared shirts are about as dressy as most people get and some will spend the entire week wearing t-shirts and shorts.
There are only two times when shorts and t-shirts won’t do: When dining at the adults-only restaurants, Remy and Palo. They have stricter (but not all that formal) dress codes. Shorts, capri pants, tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, t-shirts, flip-flops and tennis shoes are no-nos at Palo and Remy.
This restaurant, which offers dinner and brunch, requires the following:
- Men: dress pants or slacks and a collared shirt; jacket is optional
- Women: dress, skirt or pants with a blouse
Jeans may be worn if they are in good condition and have no holes.
This restaurant, which offers brunch, dessert and dinner on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy only, is the most formal of all the Disney Cruise dining options. It requires the following:
Brunch & Dessert
- Men: dress pants and a shirt are required; jacket optional
- Women: a dress or pantsuit is required
- Men: a jacket (sports, suit or tuxedo jacket) is required with dress pants/slacks and shoes; ties are optional
- Women: Cocktail dress, evening dress, pantsuit or skirt/blouse are required
What Should I Pack for Castaway Cay?
A fan favorite stop on most Disney Cruise Line vacations is Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
A beautiful island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay has so many great amenities, you won’t need to pack much in your beach bag. However, it is a long walk/tram ride from the ship to the beach area of the island, so you won’t want to go back and forth to your stateroom if you forgot something!
Castaway Cay supplies items such as swim goggles, snorkels, life vests and towels (so leave the towels in your stateroom).
Have everyone put on their swimsuits and cover-ups before you leave the ship and pack these things in your day bag for Castaway Cay:
- Sand toys
- Water shoes
- Portable charger (outlets are not plentiful on the island)
- Towel clips
- Reading material
- Dryer sheets (they magically remove sand from little bodies!)
Also consider bringing a refillable water bottle as it does get hot at Castaway Cay. There is food available (included in your cruise fare) as well as drink stations. But if you plan on spending the whole day at the beach, you won’t want to go back and forth from those areas to the beach every time someone gets thirsty.
What to Pack for Port Excursions
In addition to Castaway Cay, Disney cruises visit some amazing ports of call. Again, what you need to pack for port excursions will vary. For cruises to Alaska, packing a poncho is probably more important than packing multiple bathing suit choices. However, Caribbean cruises might call for more swimsuit options because putting on a wet swimsuit isn’t easy!
You will definitely want to bring along your beach bag or day bag to keep clothing or bathing suit options at your finger tips. Appropriate shoes for each activity are a must. Flip flops are great for the beach, but more adventurous excursions such as biking or zip lining, call for sturdier closed-toe shoes.
Complete Disney Cruise Packing List
We’ve covered packing needs for different parts of a Disney Cruise Line vacation. Now it’s time to wrap it all up into one comprehensive packing list. We’ve broken it down by sections to help you navigate the list without being overwhelmed.
- Cruise/travel documents
- COVID-19 vaccine card or proof of negative test result
- Driver’s license
- Passport or birth certificate
- Prescription medications (definitely carry-on with you)
- Cash/credit card
- Travel insurance information
- Casual dresses
- Sandals/flip flops/water shoes/tennis shoes
- Dress shoes
- Cocktail or Formal attire (for Remy/Palo or Formal Night)
- Costumes (for themed sailings, such as Halloween on the High Seas)
- Pirate night attire
- Razor/shaving cream
- Make-up remover
- Hair products (hairspray, gel, hair ties, etc.)
- Toothbrush/toothpaste and floss
- Contacts with solution and case
- Hand sanitizer
- Sea Bands or other motion sickness products
- Mask/face covering (optional in many places now, but still required in some places onboard and in port)
- Beach bag or day bag
- Lanyard (makes it easy to access your Key to the World card)
Nice to Have, But Not Must Have
- Refillable mug/water bottle (great for shore excursions)
- Zip top bags (great for wet swimsuits or sand toys)
- Alcohol or bottled water
- Non-perishable snacks in their unopened containers
- Laundry items (pods, dryer sheets, etc.)
Bonus Category: Baby Items
Diapers and other common baby supplies are sold onboard, subject to availability. But bringing your own will definitely save you money!
Depending on your child’s age, you may or may not need the following:
- Bottles/sippy cups
- Baby food
- Swim diapers
- Regular diapers
- Night light and/or white noise machine
- Baby carrier
What NOT to Bring on a Disney Cruise
Some of the items listed below and strictly prohibited. In other cases, leaving the stuff at home will save room in your suitcase for the souvenirs you’ll want to buy and bring home!
- Weapons (guns, knives, ammunition, swords, etc.)
- Weapon replicas are not allowed EXCEPT store-bought light sabers, plastic “pirate’ swords, and plastic ‘“Mjolnir” hammer (Thor’s hammer)
- Homecooked, premade or perishable foods
- Illegal drugs (including medically prescribed marijuana)
- Power strip/surge protector (banned because they could overload ship circuits and cause a fire)
- Bottle warmers
- Sports equipment
- Musical instruments
- Beach towels (provided for you by DCL)
- Hair dryer (available in your stateroom)
- Pack and Play/Crib for baby (available onboard)
For a full list of prohibited items, make sure to check out the DCL website before you start your packing!
Other Things Not to Pack for Now
Two things that are currently not allowed but could return:
“Fish Extenders,” or gift exchanges, among organized groups of cruisers are currently not permitted. That involves joining a group of other cruisers before you sail and sharing the ages of kids, interests and allergies. Then you hang a “Fish extender” set of pockets outside your stateroom to hold the surprises other families leave for you. If/when it returns and you want to participate, it will mean adding a hanging pouch and gifts for the other families to your packing list.
Character interactions are still socially distanced, so autograph books are also unnecessary at this time.