Disney Cruise Line With A Toddler – Everything You Need To Know

Is there such a thing as too young to cruise?

Technically yes. Those under 6 months of age (or 1 year on select itineraries) cannot travel with Disney Cruise Line, but after that, you’re never too young! In fact, some of the best fun can be had by the littlest guests!

Will my little one get bored on board?

I highly doubt it! There are so many fun things on board for tots. Seeing their favourite characters, watching shows, playing games, watching movies, enjoying the splash zone… they’ll be so busy, there won’t be time to get bored! All of the restaurants are geared up for young ones too, and the servers love to interact with the kids to make mealtimes a real highlight! In fact, you might struggle to get them off the ship at the end and go back to ‘normal life’!

Images copyright of Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks Blog & TouringPlans.com

Room Requests via app (Travel Cot, High Chair, Bed Rail, Nappy Bin)

As soon as you’ve booked your cruise, you’ll want to log in to your booking on the Disney Cruise Line website or Navigator App to make your unique room requests. Things you should request in advance if you need them are:

  • Travel Cot (AKA Pack-n-Play Portable Cribs)
  • High Chair (they’ll get these to your table before you arrive at the main restaurant)
  • Bed Rail (if your little one usually sleeps in a big bed)
  • Nappy Bins (diaper disposal unit)
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Bottle Steriliser
  • Dining Time

If you have any dietary needs, such as allergies, you can note these on here too.

Download via the app store

Dining Time

The main dining rooms accommodate two services per evening, meaning you have two times to choose from:

Main Seating (approximately 17:45)
Second Seating (approximately 20:15)

Most families with young kids will be chomping at the bit to book main seating, so be sure to do this as soon after booking as possible to ensure you don’t miss out. Disney has a dining rotation system on board, so you will get to experience something different every night.

Generally, the main theatre shows are showing at the alternate time to your dining time, so you may need to keep the kids up late to experience it. It is 100% worth is though, and may give you the chance to experience a magical sleep-in the next morning (here’s hoping)! If they are simply too tired to go, the show is streamed to the stateroom TVs to enjoy from the comfort of your room, so no-one needs to miss out!

Food

It’s an American cruise line, and the kid’s menus are full of chicken tenders/strips (AKA nuggets), mac and cheese (AKA cheesy pasta) and chips. BUT, regardless of age, you can order your kids anything off any menu you choose!

If they want to try the steak or swordfish, let them go for it! It’s already been paid for! If you are going to let them order off the grown-up menu or eat off your plates, here is the place to do it. If you want to view some sample menus of what to expect the unofficial Disney Cruise Line Blog has plenty of examples uploaded by cruise passengers.

There is also a casual buffet restaurant called Cabanas on every ship, so if your family would be better suited to this environment, you could eat here for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you wish.
If your little ones are still weaning, fresh pureed vegetables can be prepared at the main dining rooms and through room service, upon request.

Snacks

There are a variety of complimentary snack foods on board in the buffet restaurant (Cabanas), available via room service and around the pool deck. There are also some speciality snacks available to purchase around the ship, and of course confectionary in the gift shops. If you would like to bring anything on board from home, you may, but it must be in it’s original sealed packaging (not homemade) and not require any cooking.

Milk

If you have a little one who loves the white stuff, you’ll be pleased to know there are lots of options available to you, and it’s all free of charge. Cows milk can be found in individual cartons at the free drinks station on board. You can pick these up a hand full at a time and keep them in your in-room fridge for when you need them. You can also order these from room service, again free of charge, but tipping is recommended. If you need warm milk, again you can ask your room service provider for this, or your server at dinner if this is when you need it. There are dairy-free alternatives available on board, but you will typically have to ask a cast member for these. They are more than happy to oblige.

You can bring baby food and infant formula onboard the ship as carry-on items, but they must be pre-packaged, unopened and not require any food preparation from the kitchen . If you need to heat up formula milk on board, you can request bottle warmers and sterilisers via the website or app before boarding. Although complimentary, these are available on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to request them ahead of time.

Water

You can buy bottled water on board, and it is advised that you do not drink the tap water from your stateroom sink, but you don’t need to spend a penny on the wet stuff. You can fill your own bottles at the soft drinks station or at one of the purposely deigned water fountains out on deck. The location of these varies on each ship, but please don’t waste your money on more plastic bottles if you don’t have to! Just ask a cast member and they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Nursery

“It’s A Small World” Nursery is available for all guests sailing up to 3 years of age, and make no mistake, this is by no means complimentary! Bookings can be made in advance on the Disney Cruise Line website or Navigator app, and on board subject to availability.

Splash Zones

The cruise ship’s answer to fully cleanable soft play! The offering differs from ship to ship, but each one accommodates the under 3s. On the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, you’ll find Nemo’s Reef. Dory’s Reef is located on the Disney Wonder, and Nephews’ Splash Zone is located on the Disney Magic.

Push Chairs (AKA Strollers)

You may want to consider bringing a pushchair with you, but this depends on your child and your expectations. Our son is under 2 years of age, and more than anything, it is somewhere he can sit and relax during the embarkation/disembarkation process. He doesn’t stand still and is too heavy to carry for more than a few minutes. It’s not so useful on the ship it’s self, so you will want to make sure it is compact and collapsable, as all possessions must be kept in your stateroom (not in the corridor) for safety reasons. There is plenty of space in the wardrobes and under the bed to tuck it away, so long as it does fold down to the width of a large suitcase.

Handy Things To Have

Regardless of if I’m travelling with kids, I always take a travel-sized bottle of washing up liquid, a small sponge and a tea towel on a cruise, but this is essential if you need to make up bottles or use specific cups or flasks for your kids. A bottle brush is always useful too.

Room and pool towels are provided on board, so don’t waste luggage space on these. What you might want to take though is a towelling robe to pop on over their wet swimwear between the splash zone and your cabin. The air-conditioning onboard can be fierce on a soggy bottom, but it saves you having to drag lots of clean dry clobber to the pool deck.

Forgotten Something?

There is a life-saving shop on board, full of essential supplies such as nappies, bottles & formula, but it is expensive! Be prepared and save your dollars for the real shopping!

Pre-departure Fun – Download the official ‘My Disney Cruise Adventure’ Booklet

Designed for younger cruisers, this complimentary, 30-page printable booklet features helpful information about what children can expect when sailing and fun activities they can do before and during their cruise. Parents will also find useful tips to help prepare their family for their adventure on the high seas. Download the PDF HERE.

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Have you cruised with a baby or toddler? What was your most magical memory? Any tips? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

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