What’s Included Disney Cruise
By Alisha Molen
"So...does that cost extra?"
Want to know what comes standard in the price of your Disney Cruise and what is considered an extra expense?
In this guide, I've outlined what's included Disney Cruise...everything that is "free" (included) with the cost of your Disney Cruise and what you can expect to pay for on the ship.
you'll learn about:
You Don’t HAVE to Spend More...
First of all, you should know that it is absolutely possible to step foot on a Disney Cruise ship and not have to purchase another thing for your entire voyage (except for gratuities).
Everything you need is provided for you. The free activities, shows, games, clubs and lounges will keep you entertained. Pools and sundecks provide plenty of relaxation. And the food? There’s plenty of it for free all over the ship.
There are plenty of additional activities to tempt you to spend your money while on your cruise. Let's take a look at what's included and what's not.
Dining: What's Included
Meals in Restaurants and Buffets
All meals are included for free in your ship’s main restaurants and buffets, except Remy and Palo specialty restaurants. You can order as much food as you like.
Castaway Cay Meals
Food is provided at Castaway Cay restaurants, as well as soft drinks at their drink stations.
Many Room Service Items
Aside from a few exceptions room service meals are free. You are encouraged to tip appropriately, however. A dollar or two per item ordered works great. You can tip in cash or add it to the receipt you’ll receive with your food.
Coffee, water, soda, hot/iced tea, milk and juices are unlimited and free at meals. Additionally, there are a few drink stations on the pool deck. Those are all-you-can-drink and no extra charge.
Self-Serve Ice Cream
You will find a self-serve ice cream dispenser on the pool deck. It’s like heaven for a child, because it is all the ice cream you can eat...absolutely free.
Dining: Not Included
Remy and Palo are exclusive restaurants for adults (18+) and require additional charges plus gratuity. Alcohol is also served at an extra charge.
Beverages such as bottled sodas and water cost extra. You might be requesting a drink like this when sunbathing by the pool. In such cases, tipping your server is also customary.
Popcorn, Peanuts and Snacks
Packaged snacks are available for purchase around the ship. Additionally, popcorn, peanuts and snacks are available outside the theaters for an extra charge.
Alcohol, Cocktails, Fancy Coffee, Smoothies
All alcoholic drinks cost extra. So do "mocktails" and fruit smoothies that they will offer to bring you while you're lounging by the pool. Specialty coffees (espresso, cappuccino, etc) are available for purchase at bars and cafes around the ship.
Royal Court Royal Tea
This special tea party includes storytelling, two yummy courses, gifts, and face to face time with Disney princesses. Cost is $210 per child, $69 per adult.
Check out this video to learn more about the Royal Court Royal Tea party:
Stuff to Do: What's Included
Entertainment & Movies
Disney Cruise Line specializes in providing amazing entertainment. This is Disney, after all!
Virtually every night, in the Walt Disney Theatre, you’ll be treated to an amazing Broadway-style performance, an amazing juggler, comedian, singer, hypnotist, or a full feature movie - usually something that is in theaters or coming soon.
The Buena Vista Theatre is an Art-Deco inspired movie theater. You’ll find a variety current blockbuster films (usually movies owned by Disney) playing basically all throughout your cruise.
Pools, Games, Sports
All of the ship’s waterslides, pools, and sports activities (mini golf, basketball, ping pong, and shuffleboard) are all free. Some lounges have board games available to play for free.
Each ship has a fitness center with free weights, cardio machines, and other fitness gear. The gym has changing rooms with showers.
On Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, lounge chairs and beach umbrellas are free. Additionally, it is free to participate in the Castaway Cay 5k run.
Kids Clubs (ages 3 and up)
Disney’s clubs for kids, tween, and teens provide fantastic entertainment in awesome settings. At one moment, your kids might be chasing Tinkerbell around the room, at another they might be listening to Belle read them a story. These clubs are all free.
Stay in Touch with Fellow Passengers
In each stateroom, there are two “Wave Phones”. You can carry these phones with you around the ship to keep in touch with other passengers. From your Wave Phone, you can call any shipboard phone, stateroom phone or other Wave Phone.
Wave Phones are a bit bulky, however. My preferred method of keeping in touch is the DCL Navigator app that allows you to text other passengers who also have it installed on their phones. Download it from iTunes or Google Play before you leave home.
Character Meet and Greets
No Disney Cruise is complete without meeting Mickey Mouse or one of his pals in person. There is no charge for the standard character meet and greets. Keep in mind that some character meetings require advanced booking. See tips 3 and 4 on my Disney Cruise Tips page for more info.
Stuff to Do: Not Included
Spa / Salon Services
Prices for salon services such as manicures, pedicures and hair styling range from $35-75 per service. Spa treatments can run from $100-500, depending on the treatment.
Castaway Cay Rentals & Alcohol
For your day on Castaway Cay, you’re welcome to rent bikes, snorkeling gear, boats, private cabanas. You can purchase cocktails at any of Castaway Cay’s bars.
Disney calls these Port Adventures. DCL contracts with tour operators, guides or other recreation companies to give you something to do in each port of call at a price. You can also book your excursions with a third party company on your own. You’ll save money that way. The main drawback? If your tour company is late for the departure time, the ship will not wait for you. That’s never been a problem for me, however. Just do your homework and pick a reliable tour operator before you go.
There are plenty of photo opportunities by Disney Cruise Line photographers during the cruise. It is free to have your picture taken, but the packages to purchase the photos are not cheap.
The cost of packages will vary with the length of your sailing. DCL offers packages of prints and/or digital images burned to CDs or flash drives. The staff will also take your pictures free with your own camera.
Child Care (ages 0-2)
It’s a Small World Nursery takes reservations to watch your children while you go have some “grown-up time.” Rates are $9 per hour for the first child, $8 per hour for each additional child. Learn more about how the nursery works.
Each ship has free wi-fi connectivity to run the DCL Navigator app but it won’t let you access the internet (web, email, etc). Internet packages called Connect@Sea are sold on the ship and the costs are relatively reasonable (compared to other cruise lines) but still not cheap.
One the first day of your cruise, however, you can get 50MB of internet data free to use during your entire sailing. See tip #26 here and then read my full Disney Cruise Internet guide to learn all the details about getting online on a Disney Cruise.
Each Disney cruise ship has self-serve laundry facilities. The washers and dryers are on the smallish side but you can do a 45-minute load. Costs currently are $2 per washer load and $2 per dryer load. Soap and dryer sheets are available to buy from a vending machine.
PRO-TIP: Save a few bucks and bring your own laundry pods.
Full-service laundry and dry-cleaning services are also available. You need to plan ahead for this, as it can take over 24 hours to get your garment back.
Calls to Shore
Yes, you can make phone calls from the ship to home (or anywhere else on shore) but it’ll cost you $7 per minute.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
There’s a special salon on each ship that provides elaborate prince and princess makeovers. They also provide pirate makeovers on Pirate Night. There is a long menu of services for makeup, nails, hair, and costuming. Prices range from $59 and go up from there.
Want a tip for a freebie at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? Check out tip #83 on this page.
Disney Cruise Gratuities
Gratuities for the Disney employees that take care of you during your vacation are not included in the price of your cruise.
It is appropriate to recognize the great service you'll be provided by the crew throughout your trip.
The following suggested tips will be automatically added to your account at end of the trip, but you can adjust these amounts while on the ship:
$4.50Per Person, Per Day
Dining Room Server
$4.50Per Person, Per Day
Dining Room Assistant Server
$3.50Per Person, Per Day
Dining Room Head Server
$1Per Person, Per Day
Tipping on Disney Cruise
You Can Pay in Advance
You can pay your Disney Cruise gratuities in advance based on the suggested amounts listed above. You can do this up to 3 days before sailing.
Palo & Remy
At specialty restaurants Palo and Remy, tips are not automatically added for dining service. That’s up to you.
A gratuity of 15% is automatically added on all alcohol, Cove Cafe, or bar tabs.
It’s proper to give a small tip for any room service you receive. A dollar or two per item ordered works great. You can tip in cash or add it to the receipt you'll receive with your food.
Porters & Bus Drivers
Bring cash to tip porters and bus drivers that help you with your bags. Customary tip is $1-2 per bag.
Don't Tip These People
Babysitters & kids counselors don't expect or accept tips.
It's traditional to tip your tour guides and/or drivers. Bring extra cash with you when you get off the ship. US dollars are accepted anywhere.