Four boys, two adults, five nights on a Disney cruise! Need I tell you that I was stressing out (in a big way) over the prospect of packing for our recent trip? I had never been on a cruise, so I had no idea of what to expect, which added another level of stress. My husband is very laid-back and could easily have left with a small duffle bag with his swim trunks, a few shirts – and oh… wait – that is exactly what he did!
I am, on the other hand not as easy going, especially when it comes to being out of my comfort zone with four little boys. Thankfully I am resourceful, so I reached out to my friend, Carol who is not only a travel agent, Disney cruise veteran and expert, but also a mother of four boys. This is Carol’s ultimate (expert) Disney cruise packing list. I have also added a couple of items that I happened to throw in my bags – and they came in handy. (This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.)
The ultimate (expert) #DisneyCruise #PackingList from a mother of four boys. Don't bring the kitchen sink! Click To Tweet
- Large cup with lid for filing at soda drink station. (Tove’s note: we brought these refillable cups and loved them for every member in our family.)
- Hair dryer. Some complain about the hair dryers and bring their own. (Tove’s note: hairdryer? Who even has time to use one of those with a packed agenda and busy little kids.)
- Envelope of $1 bills for room service.
- Ziploc baggies, various sizes. If you see something at a buffet and want to save it for later it’s nice to have something to put it in. (Tove’s note: I whole-hearted agree that this is a must-bring along. I used our bags for snacks – all.day.long)
- Sticky notes. We leave notes on the mirror for our room steward – if we need something, or want the beds made up differently.
- Hi-lighter to use in the daily newspaper, the Navigator, so you can keep track of activities for the day.
- Lanyard with small pouch, but not too small. (Tove’s note: You need to carry your room key most of the time and this is one thing I wish I had brought with us. You have to remove your card frequently to have it swiped, so try to find a pouch that is over-sized.)
- Wear a watch so you don’t have to carry around your phone (we turn ours off and lock them up). There are very few clocks on board.
- Pop up hamper, laundry bag or plastic garbage bag. We prefer a bag and we hang it in the closet. That leaves the floor of the closet for shoes. (Tove’s note: Bring this! You will be glad you did! Bring a couple of bags – one for dry laundry and one for wet.)
- Stain stick and Downy wrinkle releaser.
- Wire hangers, cheap ones. There are some hangers in the closet but I hang everything I can. There is limited drawer space. You can ask your room steward for more hangers but sometimes it takes a while to get them and I like to get unpacked.
- Wear shoes with good traction. The decks are slippery when wet. Trust me, I know this.
Light jacket – it might be cold in the evenings or in the theaters.
- A smallnightlight. The rooms are dark at night. We leave the bathroom light on at night or you can use a nightlight.
- Air freshener. The bathrooms sometimes have a strange smell. Plus the bathrooms are small and I have boys- if you know what I mean. (Tove’s note: I brought a battery operated essential oil diffuser – and LOVED it!)
- Clothing: Disney says no shorts in the dining room for dinner but you will see everything!
- My boys have worn khaki shorts and polo before.
- You can wear jeans but please no holes.
- My husband usually wears khaki pants and a short sleeve polo shirt.
- I wear either a casual dress or capris.
- On 7 night cruises they have formal and semi formal night. The dress is not required. My husband will wear a long sleeve button down shirt for semi formal and a suit (or sometimes a tux) for formal. But again you will see all things. Some people just like to dress up!
- The tendency is to over pack-especially with clothes. On a 4 night cruise my boys and David will usually take one pair of khakis and either a pair of jeans or dressier pants (if they are going to Palo for dinner) and then a shirt for each night.
- If they get something dirty that needs to be worn again you can always send it to be washed for a few dollars.
- You can NOT bring an iron or a steamer for clothes. They do have an iron in the laundry room if you need to iron something. Or you can send something out to be ironed.
- Princess dresses for little girls. You will see a lot of little girls dress like princesses for dinner. This is of course not a requirement. But the dresses on board the ship are expensive, so it’s better to be prepared.
- Every cruise has a Pirate night. There is a special menu and they give you a pirate-themed bandana at dinner. There is a pirate deck party at night. Many people dress as pirates (including us). You can find some awesome pirate shirts on Amazon.
- Sandtoys. It is really nice to have your own set of molds, shovels and buckets for the days that are spent at port on a remote beach. You can also buy them there, but of course at the “special” Disney rate of “you want WHAT for this pile of plastic toys”.
- Batteries! (Tove’s note: I packed several AA and AAA batteries – and thank God for my foresight. We bought a toy that was sold without batteries. My little stash prevented numerous epic toddler meltdowns from happening.
- Small screw driver. (Tove’s note: you know – the kind you need to change batteries in kids’ toys! Yeah – THAT kind – I didn’t bring one – but I wish I had.)
- String! (Tove’s note: we used my twine to hang our many wet bathing suits and to tie the doors open between our adjoining rooms. My husband even applauded the fact I had string in my suitcase!)
- Seasickness bracelets! (Tove’s note: I wore these during my pregnancies with much success, but I didn’t bring them on the boat. Thankfully my sister-in-law did – and saved the day! They are very effective and 100% medication-free.)
- Dish soap! (Tove’s note: those big cups you brought for soda could stand to be washed every day in something other than Mickey Mouse shampoo!)
- Baby carrier and/ or Single stroller! (Tove’s note: I MADE my husband bring our double umbrella stroller, because I had visions of sleepy kids needing to rest their little legs. We brought the stroller and never once used it. The aisles are too narrow and it is not just conducive to maneuvering a stroller up and down the various decks. Instead I carried our toddler in his carrier and the other kids lived high on their 3rd and 5th winds – so there was never a need to carry them. A single stroller might come in handy though, depending on the age of your kids.)
As you can see – there are lots of things to bring on your next Disney cruise! But most importantly bring your relaxed and carefree attitude. If necessary lower your expectations – your family will not suffer if they have to wear dirty socks for a day. It is also not the end of the world if you buy over-priced sand toys because you ran out of suitcase room while packing at home! Take a deep breath, enjoy disconnecting from the mainland and reconnecting with your family!
Don’t miss The Best Disney Cruise Secrets, Tips and Hacks before your trip.
If you are interested in more information about booking a Disney cruise, please email Carol Davis at email@example.com. She has a great attention for detail, and she will make sure your vacation is filled with Disney magic!