DisneyFantasy2This is a five-part series – dolling out two tips per day – about how to fully enjoy a Disney Cruise vacation with your family.  This is a culmination of my best hints and ideas from a year-long tenure dispensing advice to other Disney Cruise Line guests.  To get the complete list of ten, stayed tuned here for the list which includes:

Part One: 1) Know Before You Go and 2) Pack Wisely
Part Two: 3) Brief the Kids and 4) Slow Down
Part Three: 5) Stay Organized and 6) Be Entertained
Part Four: 7) Maintain Your Health (and Weight) and 8) Get Educated
Part Five: 9) Explore Your Surroundings and 10) Hakuna Matata!

As the Disney Cruise Line Specialist on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel last year, my family and I experienced a fairy-tale year of travel taking five Disney Cruises on all three ships in its fleet (at the time) on four various itineraries.  We sailed to the Bahamas (twice), the Eastern Caribbean, Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.  And with four kids ranging in age from 17 down to 7 – we pretty much saw and did it all!

  1. Know Before You Go.  Do your homework and make yourself familiar with the DisneyCruise.com website.  Buy or borrow a few travel guides specifically geared to report on Disney Cruises.  (I like the Passporter’s Disney Cruise Line book and the Unofficial Guide to Cruises.)  Make reservations for adult dining, Port Adventures, the nursery and spa experiences before you leave home.  Get to the port as early as possible, and kindly request any available upgrades (especially on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.)  Carefully research your ports of call – through Disney and elsewhere.  Consider obstacles such as language barriers, currency exchange, transportation and climate/weather when making decisions about touring.
  1. Pack Wisely.   Don’t forget anything but pack lightly.  (Easier said than done, right?)  Investigate suggested  packing lists online and in guidebooks.   Then, customize your own.  Stick to your list and pack over a two-week period.  Think in outfits instead of separates, and let your clothes do double duty by pairing the same pair of slacks with different shirts and limiting the family to 2 or 3 pair of shoes each.  Bring along laundry detergent and wash out items in your stateroom or use Guest Laundry.  Order baby or toddler supplies from Babies Travel Lite.