17 Things No One Tells You About Going on a Disney Cruise
The House of Mouse has some secrets at sea.
Sure, you can expect the same magic on Disney cruises as you do at the parks. But the four ships—the Fantasy, Dream, Wonder, and Magic—have some special at-sea perks of their own. Private butlers? Check. Hidden characters? Of course. Secret gift swaps? You bet. Here, we've uncovered the best amenities every Mouse fan will find onboard. Bon voyage!
Each room has a private butler.
On most Disney cruise, butlers are called Stateroom Attendants, and you'll have the same one for the entire sailing. Expect them to visit your room two or three times per day to clean, give turn-down service, and leave chocolates and artfully arranged towels. They will attend to your every whim, so be sure to tip them appropriately at the end of the trip! (A standard gratuity is included.)
Free room service is available 24/7.
Yes, Disney room service really is available (for free!) 24 hours a day. There's a menu in each room, and in addition to the famous Mickey Bars, a variety of options include the All Hands on Deck cheese and crackers platter, BLT sandwiches, key lime pie, and buffalo chicken wings. You can also go rogue and order off-menu Mickey Mouse shaped rice krispie treats with the ears dipped in chocolate, or the secret pie of the day or cake of the day.
The Disney Wonder and Magic ships feature secret porthole staterooms.
Want an ocean-view room for the price of an interior cabin? The Disney Wonder and Magic ships each offers six cabins on deck 5 and two on deck 6 that have obstructed view portholes, despite being officially classified as inside staterooms: #5520, #5522, #5524, #5020, #5022, #5024, #6006, and #6506.
The Royal Suites are the fanciest cabins.
The Royal Suites are the ultimate over-the-top experience. They are kitted out with two bathrooms (and a whirlpool tub!), walk-in closets, a dining room, a media library, pantry, wet bar, fine artwork, and concierge-level amenities. But that's not all. You can also enjoy room service breakfast or meals from the adults-only Italian restaurant Palo—including the famous chocolate soufflé with vanilla bean and chocolate sauce.
There is childcare around the clock.
One of the most harrowing things about vacationing with children is that there's often no break. Disney has exhausted parents covered with childcare options for literally every age: there's the It's a Small World nursery for littles under 3, Oceaneer Clubs for children ages 3-12, Edge for tweens 11-13, and Vibe for kids 14-17. Even better, the Oceaneer Kids Club is open from 9 a.m. until midnight or even 1 a.m. on some sailings, so your chances of blowing off steam and actually enjoying yourself in the ships' nightclubs and lounges just went up exponentially.
Skyline Bar has hidden Disney characters.
On the Dream and Fantasy ships, one of the most elegant bars is the Skyline Lounge, where bartenders sling handcrafted cocktails against a rotating tech-forward backdrop of cities like St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Paris. Inside, take a closer peek: the tiny characters wandering the street are reportedly from Star Wars. Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse even share an apartment building in the London background.
There are secret gift swaps.
Onboard, you'll find metal fish or seahorses next to each door, often with bags or holders hanging off them. These are called Fish Extenders, and people sign up beforehand via message boards and forums to swap gifts and trinkets with other cruisers. Think candy, stickers, pins, hair accessories, pirate eye patches, glow sticks—some guests even gift mini alcohol bottles!
It's a Disney tradition to decorate your cabin door.
Repeat cruisers will often have special door magnets with the names of their family members, the special occasion they're celebrating, the year of their cruise, and so on. (After scouring boards and discovering the trend, our family had a custom magnet made off Etsy for our first cruise.)
There are helpful online Disney groups.
Many future cruisers join online forums to swap tips, get to know their fellow cruise members, and arrange Fish Extender swaps (more about this below). Facebook is a popular place, with the Disney Cruise Line Junkies community, plus groups for each individual sailing. Other well-trafficked forums include DISboards and Cruise Critic.
Castaway Cay has its own post office.
Miss the days of handwritten letters? You can send a postcard or note from the real working post office on Castaway Cay, and it will arrive with a special CC postmark plus Bahamian postage specific to DCL.
People spend weeks preparing for Pirate Night.
A dinner and deck party with fireworks, Pirate Night is a marquee event that the entire ship goes all out for. Many guests put special thought into their costumes, sometimes even ordering or hand-making elaborate getups, while children can be made-up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with eye patches, beards, bandanas, earrings, coin necklaces, tattoos, and swords.
Ship officers hand out rare Disney pins and souvenirs.
Every Disney cruise has a special event devoted to trading Disney pins, where ship officers gather with lanyards of Disney pins. It's a great place to pick up souvenirs, as many of the pins are rare, and it's also fun to interact with the officers. Check the Navigator to find out when the event takes place.
There are Disney movie-inspired theme nights.
After Disney Magic's Tangled show, O'Gills Pub transforms into the Snuggly Duckling, complete with special menus and themed decorations. It's not the only movie-themed transformation. For the Marvel Day at Sea, Fathoms nightclub becomes a Guardians of the Galaxy-style Ravager hangout, complete with alien dance party and Star Lord-approved music.
They can check your bags at the airport for you.
If you're sailing from Miami or Port Canaveral and don't want to deal with your suitcases on disembarkation day, you can purchase ground transportation and choose the onboard airline check-in service. Disney will check your bags through to your final destination before even leaving the ship, as well as deliver your boarding passes ahead of time, allowing you to skip baggage claim at the port terminal and bypass airline check-in.
There are amazing off-menu meals.
If you're at, say, Royal Court one evening but are still dreaming of last night's meal from Animator's Palate, your server can make it happen. Some guests also enjoy ordering an off-menu seafood platter with their dinner, which is possible in any restaurant.
There are kid-friendly treats available.
Have little picky eaters? You can order sealed Smucker's Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches from room service, despite them not being listed on the menu. Keep some in your fridge for snack emergencies, or pack them to take off the ship with you for excursions.
The crew is not allowed to say these three words.
Disney prides itself on creating a magical experience and going above and beyond for guests. So, the three words every Disney cast member is absolutely forbidden to speak? "I don't know." If you'd like to hear more cruise news, check out the 17 Horrifying Myths About Cruises That Are 100 Percent True.