Disney Cruise – What to Pack (And What Not To)

Disney Cruise Tips - What to Pack

The second most stressful thing for me (after embarkation) was what to pack. And what not to pack for that matter. You may read on other blogs that they packed way to much, and that you should make an effort to not over pack. I agree and disagree all at once.

Let me start by saying, I am not an over-packer. There are people in my family, who shall remain unnamed, that definitely fall into the category of over-packer. I know what these people look like, HUGE suitcases filled to the brim, 6 different pairs of shoes and emergency items for each person in the family, I am not one of them. However, a cruise is unlike any other vacation we take. I found packing to be challenging.


This is where most of your consolidating can take places. That being said, you will still feel like you are over packing. That’s because you need to pack for all sorts of occasions. Here is what my list consisted of:

  • Everyday Summer Clothing – an outfit for each day
  • Swim Wear – bring multiple bathing suits for each person. I suggest bringing at least 2 swimsuits per person. One will dry, while you are using the other and so on.
  • Casual Evening Wear – Jeans, nice shorts, sundresses, polo shirts
  • Semi Formal- Sundresses, polo shirts, khakis
  •  Formal – Long dresses, suits and ties
  • Pirate Night Outfit & Princess Dresses
  • Shoes – tennis shoes, flip flops, sandals and nice shoes

We changed our clothes every evening for dinner. This is not a requirement, but we were ready for showers and a change of clothes after being in the salty air all day. I would say 75-80% of our fellow travelers changed their clothes for the evening meal. Here is Disney Cruise Lines thought on the matter. 

Other Necessities

Many of the things on this list I thought were totally ridiculous when I read them before our cruise. I am telling you, these are NECESSITIES. There is nothing on this list that I would even consider leaving at home on our next cruise.

  • Water Bottles – I was nervous about the water on board. I was worried it would taste “off”. I am happy to report that it in no way tasted bad. Next trip I will only pack water bottles, and leave the bottled water at home. We filled these at the soda fountains and then took them ashore during our excursions.
  • Cups with lids – I highly suggest bringing larges cups with lids for everyone in your traveling party. You could use your water bottle for this as well. The cups that are provided at the soda fountain are very small and have no lids. It is nice to fill up your own cup and be able to have that wherever you go on the ship. If you have been to WDW, refillable mugs work great for this. 
  • Nightlight – This is one of those tips that I simply did not listen to. We got very lucky and one of our awesome FE  participants gave us one the first night. We used it the entire trip. Our little one is not afraid of the dark, but the inside stateroom is pitch black and it is impossible to navigate without a light. Leaving the bathroom light on is an option, but a nightlight is better. 
  • Watch – We don’t wear watches, we have our cell phones. And again going into the cruise both my husband and I laughed at the suggestion that we would not be carrying our cell phones around. Think again! Unless you are using your phone for your camera, there really is no need to carry it. Luckily, I listened to this piece of advice and had a watch. There are no clocks on board (that can be easily seen). And there is a schedule to keep!
  • Clothes Pins – This seems like a silly one. But drying those swim suits can be an issue. There is a clothes line in the tub, but the clothes pins allow you to hang the swim suits up better and dry more quickly.
  • Snacks – You will not need a ton of snacks. But I do suggest packing a few. We used them when we went ashore and it was handy to have them during the excursions. They saved us from spending money while ashore and allowed us to wait until we were back on the ship where food is included!
  • Lanyards – Another suggestion that I ignored. I mean honestly who wants to be a dweeb wearing a lanyard. I haven’t had one of those since I turned 16, in 1998 (ugh 98?!). Again I was saved, because I am a sliver club member I received a lanyard from DCL at check-in. I used it every single day. I don’t know what I would have done without it. For men it isn’t such a big deal, although my husband was jealous. But I spent most of my time in outfits with no pockets, sundresses, swim suits and so on. Having the lanyard to hold my key to the world card was crucial. 
  • Door Magnets & Decorations – This is so much fun and I suggest taking part. Show your personality, hometown, sports team, whatever you are passionate about. It is fun for you and it is fun for your follow passengers to see as they are walking down the hall. 
  • Sunblock – And lots of it!
  • Reading Materials – If your kiddos are in the kids clubs there is plenty of downtime. And what better chance will you have to catch up on your reading?
  • Gallon Ziploc Bags – This is a must pack item for me on any trip. I pack tons of things in the Ziplock bags and then use them throughout the trip. They are good for snacks, water, extra clothes and on and on.

Don’t Bother

  • Towels – Of any kind. There are plenty of beach towels all over the pool decks. And as you disembark you are given towels if you need them for any of your excursions.
  • Shoe Hangers – you may see these are a tip on other blogs. But please be careful, you cannot use them over your bathroom door unless they are modified. You can google how to modify them, but be careful that you are following the rules. We had plenty of storage in our 169 square foot room room, lol. 
  • Toiletries –  The next time we go I will not be packing shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The products on board are amazing, they are spa quality. 
  • Hair Dryer – There is one on board, and I am happy to report it does dry your hair!
  • Power Strips – This is another tip you may see floating around the internet. Outlets will be an issue, and a power strip would be great. But it is not allowed due to it being a fire hazard.

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