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25+ Tricks for an Awesome Disney Cruise with a Baby
By Alisha Molen
If you’re considering a Disney Cruise and you have an infant, you might be wondering how to make it feel like a vacation.
As I explain in my article 10 Reasons Why Disney Cruise is Best Vacation for Families, Disney knows it has a very family-centric audience. It knows how to cater to both parents and their little ones.
Disney Cruise Line really does cater to little ones onboard. My 25 Effortless Tricks for an Awesome Disney Cruise with a Baby will provide you with the information you need to prepare, relax and have a great trip…with your little one in tow.
BEFORE YOU GO
1) Know the Minimum Age
Disney Cruise Line is very accommodating of infants but they do have some age restrictions. Minimum age to sail aboard most itineraries is 6 months on the day of sailing. For Panama Canal and Transatlantic voyages, the minimum age is 1 year old on the day of sailing.
2) Understand the Rules for Air Travel with Infants
If you’ll be traveling by air to your port, it’s a good idea to know the TSA rules for traveling with children.
You can bring formula, juice and breast milk on the plane. Here are the basics:
- All travelers must undergo screening, regardless of age. However, the TSA officers on staff can help you with any concerns; just talk to them before you start screening.
- If you have formula, breast milk or juice, you CAN take it through the security checkpoint. You simply need to inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process and they’ll take care of you.
- Formula, breast milk, and juice in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces are allowed in your carry-on.
Read the full TSA rules here if you want to know more about their process and rules.
3) Request a Crib (Pack n Play) Before You Sail
Disney Cruise Line will provide a free crib for your room if you request it. They’ll provide the bedding for it as well.
You can reserve a Pack n Play once your cruise is all paid by calling 800-951-3532. You can also request one at Guest Services once you are on-board, but since they are available on first come, first served basis, I’d definitely make a reservation as early as you can.
4) Request a Stroller Before You Sail
Disney Cruise Line provides complimentary strollers. Currently they offer a three-wheeled jogger style stroller with canopy.
Here’s how Disney describes it:
The comfortable three-wheeled jogger style stroller folds easily and offers an adjustable sun canopy. Storage space is available in the mesh pouch located on the back of the seat. The strollers can be adjusted into an upright or reclining position and are collapsible.Disney Cruise Line
To reserve your stroller, call 800-951-3532 when you’re all paid up. As a last resort, you can also ask for one at Guest Services when you arrive onboard.
You can bring your own stroller, and if you do, I recommend an umbrella stroller, since space onboard the ship is at a premium.
5) Request a Diaper Genie & Bottle Warmer Before You Sail
Another complimentary service provided by Disney Cruise Line is to give you a diaper genie with the needed bags and a bottle warmer if you need it. Again, you can reserve these items by calling 800-951-3532 before you sail. Or you can reserve at Guest Services when you board the ship.
6) Hire a Babysitter When You Need to Pack
Stressed out about packing? A few days before your trip, ask a babysitter to watch your infant while you finish preparing to go.
7) Forget to Reserve Online?
No worries. If you need anything, you can ask at Guest Services when you arrive onboard on embarkation day. Or tell your room attendant when you get to your stateroom and they will get it for you.
8) Book a Room with a Verandah
Kayla from Whimsical Wishes Travel gives us this gem of an idea:
When baby naps, Mom & Dad can sit out on the verandah and relax. Carry on a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of beer for your stateroom fridge and order a cheese plate from room service – nap time has never been so good!
9) Use the Nursery & Enjoy Your Time Alone
Disney Cruise has a great nursery called It’s a Small World Nursery. Book yourself plenty of nursery time. The staff at It’s a Small World Nursery is well-trained and take great care of your child for you.
You can leave kids ages 6 months to 3 years old at the nursery. The staff (Cast Members) at the nursery are well-trained Disney counselors who will feed your child at the proper time, change diapers, and lead the kids in crafts, activities and games.
There’s a window in the main play area where you can peek in on your kids from time to time without being noticed.
The rates are currently:
- $9 per hour for first child
- $8 per hour any additional child
10) Reserve Nursery Time Online Before You Sail
You have to make reservations because space is limited at It’s a Small World Nursery. I recommend making reservations online as early as you can. You can cancel up to four hours before your reservation without penalty.
11) You Can Leave Snacks at the Nursery
The nursery offers their own food, such as bananas, yogurt, and crackers.
However, you might want to bring your own food. If so, that’s okay, but all baby food or snacks must be sealed/unopened (in other words, nothing from the dining room).
12) Create a Nursery Bag with Supplies for Your Baby
The Nursery allows and encourages parents to bring the following items to help them attend to your child:
- Diapers or pull-ups and diaper wipes
- Extra clothing
- A baby blanket
I suggest you create a “Nursery Bag” that is ready to go for this purpose. It is easier than unpacking your entire diaper bag. Instead, make a smaller tote with unopened food, diapers, wipes, blanket, and change of clothes.
13) Bring a Nanny
This isn’t for everyone, but another alternative is to pay for a nanny to join you as a traveling companion to help you watch your children.
14) Onboard Diaper & Supplies are Expensive
Bring more diapers than you think you need because the prices on board are very high.
The same is true for any other of your regular supplies like diaper rash cream, children’s Tylenol, etc.
15) Line Your Suitcase with Diapers to Save Room
By lining your suitcase with your diapers, they take up much less room than a bulky pack of Pampers.
16) Plan Ahead for Cleaning
Take a small bottle of dish soap and a small bottle brush for easy cleaning in your room.
Buy Bounty towels with Dawn infused. Tear them all off and put in a Ziploc bag. These are great for general clean-up of bottles and other things.
BONUS TIP: Disney Cruise has a limited number of approved bottle sanitizers available to use free. Just ask at Guest Services when you arrive on the ship.
17) Put a Spare Outfit in Ziploc Baggies
Place a spare outfit in a ziploc bag or two and carry with you when you’re out and about. Then, if you have a diaper blowout or other mess, you can bring out the clean clothes and put the dirty clothes in the bag(s).
18) Need Something? Stop at Wal-Mart Before You Sail
Forget something at home? Run out of formula? Stop at a local Wal-mart right before you sail for any last minute supplies. You’ll save a lot of money and have peace of mind knowing you have all of your needed items.
19) Other Items to Pack
- Swim diapers, water shoes, and good hat for pool deck
- Teething toys
- Coloring pages
- Baby thermometer
- Infant Tylenol
- Your child’s favorite snacks (they probably won’t have them on the ship)
Thanks to Siera from Destinations in Florida for contributing some of these ideas!
21) Find a Cute Disney Themed Outfit
It’s time to play dress-up! Why not prepare your little one to meet Minnie Mouse with a cute new Disney outfit? Some ideas here to get you started.
22) Download Some Shows Before You Go
This tip comes from Kayla at Whimsical Wishes Travel. Download a few of baby’s favorite standby shows directly to your phone or tablet, you don’t want to waste the precious little Wi-Fi you do get on streaming Blues Clues.
23) Request a High Chair
Let your waiter or maitre d’ know that you need a high chair at your restaurant. These are free of charge and the ship has plenty available. Once they know you need a high chair, it will be waiting for you at every restaurant meal.
24) Tell Your Waiter About Special Food Requests
Your first dinner is a great time to tell your waiter about any special food requests you have for your child. They will be happy to bring mashed potatoes, avocados, or bananas, just as a few examples. Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you want; your wait staff will likely accommodate you.
25) Your Waiter Will Puree or Cut Up Food For Your Child
Again, the principle of “just ask” works wonders here. Just ask your waiter if he or she is able to puree your infant’s food (or cut up food for older children.) Remember, they cater to families, so this is a pretty common request for them. This can be a big saver of luggage space!
This is only available in the three main restaurants. Also, you can add a note to your stateroom reservation preference letting them know you’d like this done.
Tip: you might want to bring small plastic containers with lids. Each night there will be more pureed food than your child can eat. Put the “leftovers” in your containers to keep in your stateroom refrigerator.
MORE GOOD IDEAS
Create a “Mini-Room” for Your Infant
This tip comes from Lindsay H. who shared an tip for those travelling with a baby or toddler that will be in a pack-n-play. The ceiling of your stateroom is metal; magnets will stick to them. Request an extra sheet from your room steward. Fasten safety pins to the edge and hang them from the ceiling using four magnetic hooks. Presto! You have an instant “mini-room” for the baby!
Take a Lot of Pictures
This tip comes from Keri, a former Disney Cast Member, who now blogs at Bon Voyage with Kids. She reminds us this is a very special event and Disney Cruises are perfect for kids of all ages, yes even babies. So remember to capture the memories!