Every Disney Cruise we go on I feel like we uncover yet another hidden gem of the ship. If you are a newbie or a first timer there are lots of Disney Cruise in the know items that you may otherwise miss out on. So we want to spill the beans and make sure you catch the extra special magic you can find on the Disney Cruiseline.
Watch a Movie that’s not Even Out Yet
On Disney cruise ships, they will do first runs of Disney movies sometimes before they are even out in theaters. So yes there are things like people booking Disney Cruises so they can see a brand new Star Wars movie before it comes out. You can also expect to get a chance to see your all-time Disney favorites on-screen daily in the Buena Vista Theatre. The schedule tends to be that family friendly films play during the day, with more current releases in the evening. On occasion, you may even be treated to movie premieres at sea.
Participate in Fish Extenders
So just what is a Fish Extender? On a Disney Cruise a fish extender is a secret Santa type gift exchange with a group of 5-10 rooms (depends on how large the sign up is). You can join your fish extender group for your specific sailing via Facebook. Just use the search box at the top and enter your boat and cruise date. Keep in mind that sign-ups are entirely optional, so don’t worry if one cruise you don’t feel like participating.
Now once you board your ship you will notice that each stateroom has a fish-hook where you hang your fish extender. You can make your own or you can check out Etsy shops that make custom ones. As for the gifts, they can be whatever you like whether it’s a for a whole stateroom gift or per person. We decided on gifting custom Disney Cruise water bottles from PoplinFabrication on Etsy for this vacation!
Order Milk and Cookies
What a better way to end your evening than to order some milk and cookies and wind down before bed. 24-hour room service is included with your cruise fare so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call. If you’re not a cookie person don’t forget a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar is just a call away 24-7!!
Treat Yourself to Palo
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a Disney Cruiseline ship head to Palo for a quiet romantic meal. Palo is a lush, luxurious Italian restaurant. The major draw for the adults on the ship is that children are not allowed to dine here. As an optional dining experience, there is a $40 surcharge for dining at Palo. We think this is well worth the expense which you can see why if you read our full Palo Dinner Dining Review.
Sail Away in Style
Disney never just does anything ordinary. They are always going above and beyond and your departure that kicks off your cruise is no exception. The Sail Away Party lets you start your Disney cruise vacation on an upbeat note with a high-energy deck party. I mean just listen to how this moment sounds… a magical introduction to your vacation as confetti and streamers rocket through the air, shooting skyward while the Pinocchio classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” bellows from the ship’s blow horn.
Ah, my heart is already melting from memories of our past vacations. It’s a great celebration to take part in. We like to catch a little bit of the show and then we race to the front of the boat to watch it maneuver out of port. It’s always such an amazing sight to see such a big ship sail out of these tiny canals. Plus if you are setting sail from Port Canaveral it’s always fun to see NASA and we even have spotted the Space-X barge that they reland rockets on!
Castaway Cay 5K
For my runDisney addicts, a Disney vacation can include quite a bit of running. Of course, Disney didn’t forget this when it came to their own cruiseline. When you set sail on any Disney Cruise that stops at Castaway Cay you get the opportunity to sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K. This is a 5K race in the morning on the island. Best of all unlike the other runDisney events, this one is absolutely FREE. However, sign ups are limited so we recommend putting your name on the list the day you board your ship.
Guests are usually asked to meet up onboard the ship at somewhere around 8 am in the morning for an initiation. Once you run through the rules and everyone is check in it will be off to the races. This race isn’t timed so it’s non-competitive but your reward at the end of your 3.1-mile challenge is the Castaway 5K medal. Note: this run is for guests ages 12 and up only.
Meet All Your Favorite Disney Characters
Disney Cruises are so different from the parks when it comes to characters. You will find that it is just easier to meet more characters. Maybe it is because they are pretty much everywhere you turn? You will see various Disney characters in stage shows and during kids’ activities the youth clubs. You can reserve your tickets for select Character experiences online before you even board the ship. Think of it as the cruiseline’s version of Fastpass. Once your cruise is paid in full, make reservations within your advance booking window, which is determined by your Castaway Club membership level.
You will notice once you walk the corridors on the ship that door decor is VERY popular. My first cruise I felt so left out since we were not prepared with any decorations. I love traveling the long way back to the room just to see everyone’s creativity. Some people have memories from past trips, or have pin trading and so much more. We have even spotted people who go all out and change their door decoration daily!
All kinds of magnets decorate the stateroom doors. Etsy shops can make custom ones or it’s fun making homemade ones! If making homemade ones, make sure to get THICK magnets otherwise they will not stay on. This was our door on our last cruise.
Have you set sail with Disney Cruiseline before? If so share with us your Disney Cruise must-dos in the comment section below.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!