How to Get Ready for a Disney Cruise with a Toddler

by Ivy B
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Thinking about travel and taking a cruise with your toddler?  Let’s talk about how to prepare for a Disney Cruise with a toddler.

I spent so much time trying to figure out how to pack for our family of three for our recent Disney Cruise.  We went on a 4 night Bahamian cruise with Disney Cruise Lines as a celebration of our daughter’s 2nd Birthday AND our 4th Wedding Anniversary.  This was quite a different experience from our honeymoon cruise, when all we had to worry about was ourselves.  It was almost overwhelming trying to prepare for a Disney Cruise with a toddler.

In the months before the cruise, I had so many questions, especially considering S’s milk intolerance and the ship rules about not bringing food on board.  I’d like to do an in-depth review of the experience from start to finish, but that would be more like a book.  This will be the 1st in a two part series of our Disney Cruise Line (DCL) experience.

As this is the 1st post of 2, I’m concentrating on planning, packing, and contacting customer service.  In my second post I will concentrate on reviewing the Disney Cruise experience.

Toddler ready for her Disney Cruise! How to prepare for a Disney Cruise with a Toddler | www.sahmplus.com

How to Prepare for a Disney Cruise with a Toddler

Planning

We ended up purchasing our cruise from Expedia.com while they were running a promotion in concurrence with Disney’s on-board credit promotion.  The deal gave us an extra on board credit from Expedia on top of Disney’s $100 on board credit offer.

At the time, it was the best deal we could find.  I was glad I didn’t just book through Disney.  That said, be sure to check out all the deals and don’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t better deals out there.

The down side to this part of the story is that Expedia did an awesome job of hiding the requirements for receiving the additional on board credit in their terms and conditions, so we missed the requirements to claim them and weren’t eligible for it any longer.  Worst part is that we didn’t realize it wasn’t applied until we were already on the ship when we received the note that we only had a $100 on board credit.

Want a little more hands-off planning experience?  You can request a quote from World of Magic Travel to assist you in your Disney Cruise planning!

Allergies

If you or your family have allergies or, like in our case, a child with a milk intolerance, be sure to contact Disney.  Since S is milk intolerant and possibly soy intolerant, we have had her on Almond Milk versus other milk alternatives.  When I contacted Disney about their milk alternatives, they didn’t offer Almond Milk (rice and soy were the alternatives offered) so I asked if I could bring it on board.

The answer is yes – coolers are allowed for baby foods and necessary dietary restrictions.  In baby girl’s case, her Almond Milk will be allowed on in an unopened original container.  Homemade or opened containers, from my understanding, are not permitted.  Please check with Disney about their policies BEFORE boarding!

While we really didn’t pack anything other than some Almond Milk and some extra toddler snacks, part of those snacks weren’t necessarily “baby foods” and we weren’t given any trouble in boarding.  So that we didn’t have to carry a cooler, I purchased almond milk in a 4 pack of single servings and packed it into a carry on bag.

Contacting Disney Cruise Line

If you booked through Expedia or some other online portal, I’d recommend contacting DCL’s customer service to make sure you have things set up for your family.  I sent a quick email to notify them that our daughter is celebrating her 2nd birthday, we were celebrating our 4th Anniversary, and also included that we would be in need of a high chair at dinner and crib in the cabin.  They notated in our account everything that we weren’t able to include when booking with Expedia.

In a later email to them, I had to ask if we could bring our daughter on an excursion that wouldn’t let us add her to in booking online.  The answer was YES, but that the system wouldn’t add her because she was FREE for the activity we were booking.

My review of their services prior to boarding the ship was satisfactory.  They answered all my questions and were very quick to respond.

Packing

To help you prepare for a Disney Cruise with a toddler, I’ll let you want we packed, just for our toddler:

A full sleeve of diapers (out of a box of Luvs) – about twice as many as we ended up needing
2 packages of Huggies Swim Diapers – this was more than 1 full bag too many for us
Several Outfits
5 bathing suits – again, too many as we didn’t utilize more than 1 a day
2 sets of water shoes
UV Protective Swim Hat
Sunblock
A 4 pack of shelf-stable almond milk (for her milk sensitivity)
A small stroller (at the time, we had a Combi folding stroller that has a strap for easy carry) – this is helpful both on and off the ship!  Look for more information in the 2nd post.

You can also check out my friend’s post: 10 items you didn’t know you needed for a disney cruise.

Clothing

Found on Disney Cruise Line’s Website, here was the suggested dining attire for our cruise:

On 4-night cruises:

  • First night: cruise casual—no shorts, swimwear or tank tops

  • One pirate or tropical night (deck party)

  • One “optional dress-up night”—jacket for men, dress or pantsuit for women

  • Final night: cruise casual—no shorts, swimwear or tank tops

We ended up packing at least 2 outfits per day (one day time outfit and one dinner outfit worn the remainder of the evening).  Hubby packed 2 bathing suits and I packed 3 for myself.  I honestly think we all could have packed a little lighter.  Maybe next time we prepare for a Disney Cruise, we’ll plan to use the laundry service and re-wear some of the same clothes.  I would certainly not bring more than 3 swimsuits for the toddler to rotate through the week.

Have any questions about how to prepare for Disney Cruise with a toddler?  I was kind of lost as a first timer myself, so I’d love to help if I can.

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15 comments

Disney Cruise with a Toddler - Disney Dream (Post 2 of 2) | SAHM, plus... July 7, 2017 - 8:26 pm

[…] Prepare for a Disney Cruise with a Toddler | SAHM, plus… April 17, […]

Reply
Marysa February 19, 2018 - 9:06 am

We went on a cruise when my daughter was 2.5, and I wish it had been a Disney cruise. There was not enough to do and I wouldn’t say it was the most kid-friendly. I would love to take the kids back on a cruise someday. This is a great list to have on hand.

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Bellissimamma February 19, 2018 - 9:16 am

Oooh I love Disney! I think that going on a Disney cruise with your family is super awesome! Great suggestions! 🙂

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Jamie February 19, 2018 - 10:09 am

That’s disappointing about the extra credit but overall sounds like you all did an awesome job of planning for your cruise. I always overpack. But when I try to be more frugal in my packing, I usually end up wishing I’d brought X. Can’t wait to read your next post- I’ve been thinking about a Disney cruise for forever!

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Ivy B February 20, 2018 - 10:44 am

They’re amazing for many reasons. You can always do laundry. I know I wouldn’t be opposed to having someone do my laundry for me … especially toward the end of the week so it’s less I have to do once we’re home LOL

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Diana February 19, 2018 - 4:52 pm

I have never been on a cruise and not sure if I ever will as I don’t like the idea of being surrounded by water, lol, but these are great tips for families who are planning too with a little one! I always say its better to overpack than underpack. You never know what you may need!

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Ivy B February 20, 2018 - 10:42 am

Awww, I can understand that, but for the most part, these ships are so massive you almost forget you’re not on land – until you go out on deck 😉 . It’s a really cool experience.

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Herchel Scruggs February 20, 2018 - 8:31 am

We loved it! I think they did a great job with Pea’s allergies. I bet the kids had a blast.

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Ivy B February 20, 2018 - 10:41 am

Well, this was back when S was a toddler, but yes, she did have fun. I’d like to wait until B is potty trained before we consider doing this again.

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Herchel Scruggs February 20, 2018 - 8:33 am

Lol I loved their suggested packing list. I’ve decided that my next one has to be a 7 day. Then I will have a reason for all the extra clothes we brought. My best advice would be to pack fewer casual clothes because we pretty much wore our swimsuits most days until dinner.
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Amanda February 20, 2018 - 8:32 pm

I would love to take my daughter on a Disney Cruise, but she’s only 7 months. I think we’ll wait until she’s a toddler before we even attempt this type of vacation.

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Sophia March 14, 2018 - 8:55 pm

Disney Cruise has been on my togo list for a few years now. I am still overwhelmed to think about taking my toddler and 9 year old kid for it. I am hoping next year would be better. Thanks for sharing these tips.

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Ivy B March 15, 2018 - 8:18 pm

I personally would wait until the littlest is potty trained. We had a great time, but definitely a little hindered with a toddler still in diapers.

Reply
Sharon April 17, 2018 - 12:51 am

Prepare for a Disney Cruise with a toddler.

I’ll be doing this in the very near future, so it was interesting to read your post right now.

Some good ideas and tips.

Great work.

Cheers Sharon…
Sharon recently posted…The beach chair with a secret weapon. No more sinking in sand or mud!My Profile

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Ivy B April 17, 2018 - 7:45 am

Great! I hope you find use for these tips 😀 Thanks for stopping by!!

Reply
Lee White January 29, 2019 - 3:02 am

I love reading an article that will make people think.
Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

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