How do you pack for comfort and convenience, as well as formal night, semi formal night, pirate night and those just in case scenarios? Ok, well the just in case scenario took a back seat, because with my family of 6 and our essentials, there was no room for a whole lot extra.
Rather than bore you with my entire packing list (Type A snooze-fest), I thought I’d share a few of the things that I was very thankful to have packed, and a few that we could have done without.
Disney Cruise Essentials
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Lanyard Holder/Pouch Combo
Disney Mickey Mouse Cross Body Shoulder Bag It was “just” large enough to fit everything I needed just about anywhere. Things I carried in it for most of the trip: phone (iPhone 6+), pocket camera, camera battery, lip balm, disney pins and hair ponies. There was also a clear window in back for my Key to the World Card (easy access was nice, considering we had to have a card inserted into a slot in the Stateroom entrance in order to use electricity – no card, no lights.)
Sony DSC-TX30/D 18 MP Digital Camera – I used this waterproof point and shoot far more than my DSLR. And while I’m not sure if I could ever leave my DSLR behind when I go on vacation, I seriously wonder what I needed it for this time around. Light, convenient, easy to use, and because this camera is waterproof I was able to take it with me everywhere and not worry about ruining it.
DIY Pirate Costumes
It is not mandatory to participate in Pirate Night, but so much fun that many of the passengers do it. I wish I could remember on which blog or pinterest page I saw the DIY Pirate Costumes so I could give them credit! If you search google (or look on pinterest) for DIY Pirate Costume, you will see this idea a lot – black pants (cut up sweat pants for the guys), white tshirts and red no-fray fabric cut into sashes. We supplemented with some inexpensive accessories purchased on Amazon and/or at the dollar store and voila, instant pirate! Robby had the coolest costume though – purchased second hand from a friend so he could be Captain Jack Sparrow. Robby says he can’t smile or his mustache will fall off. Disney will actually provide a bandana for each person in your stateroom, so you will have that as well.
Collapsible Laundry Basket
The Staterooms are manageable, but SMALL, especially if you are squeezing in four people per stateroom. They get messy quickly, and one thing I was thankful to have was a collapsible laundry basket for keeping the dirty clothes together off the floor and furniture. It also made it much easier to make a trip to the ship laundry room half way through our vacation. Because it folds completely flat, it was easy to pack into our checked luggage.
My girls collect trading pins, and wanted a few Disney pins to be able to trade with the Officers and Crew Members on pin trading night. The pins are extremely expensive to purchase on the ship, so I bought a pack of 25 on Amazon HERE. Yes, I realize they are probably not “official”; no, my kids did not care (nor did anyone they traded with). I split the 25 between my three kids and gave the odd numbers out to my niece and nephew. It does take a couple of weeks for the pins to be delivered, so be sure to order early.
Other Helpful Items
Waterproof Mascara – I forgot mine, my daughter remembered hers. I was jealous.
Clothes Pins – You only need a few, they come in handy for securing wet clothing to the clotheslines available in the bathroom shower.
Disney Navigator App (Apple | Android)- ok we didn’t technically “bring” this, but we did download it onto our phones at home before leaving. It was indispensable when it came to planning our days/evenings, and knowing what time and where activities and events were being held. In addition to events, there is also an onboard chat/message function within the app that effectively allows you to “text” anyone you add as a contact. Ship wifi is free for Navigator App only.
Athletic or other close toed shoes – assuming you are doing an excursion that requires them. We signed up for the Zipline Tour on Tortola (so much fun!) which required them.
Door Magnets – not a necessity, but the kids had fun with these. Again, Google and Pintrest are your friends.
If you’re googling “what to pack for Disney Cruise” then you will run across many articles that have long lists of items to bring that do seem clever or interesting. A few that I wish I had left home:
Item to leave at Guest Services for Characters to Sign – all we brought was a photo mat (though you will see suggestions for pillow cases and other items), but when I attempted to leave it at Guest Services to be signed and picked up later I was informed that they no longer do that, and the only option for character signing was to go around to each character with your item and request signatures. If my kids had been younger and interested in the autograph book option we may have done that, however I did not want to carry around the photo mat and ended up leaving it in the stateroom.
Power Strip – they are no longer allowed in the staterooms
Water bottles – we bought collapsible water bottles, but never used them. We did see other people using theirs, but for us it just seemed easier to use the cups provided. We did however purchase very expensive bottled water whenever we left the ship, which I suppose could have been avoided. Oh well, it was vacation.
Other options like hanging organizers, etc seemed pointless. Yes, the state rooms are small, but they are efficient and we found that there were plenty of options for storing/organizing our things if we bothered to put them away (especially with the collapsible laundry basket that we brought)
None of these tips will make or break your vacation. In the end we truly would have been fine without our “essential” items, and the things we packed but didn’t need were not a huge hinderance. Disney really does a great job of ensuring that guests are taken care of – if you forget anything, you will most likely be able to get it from Guest Services or purchase it in one of the shops on the ship.
No matter what – it is Magical…=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Tressie Davis is a portrait photographer located in Chelsea, MI. Portrait work may be viewed at www.tressiedavis.com.