This is the first of many in a series I’m posting that will include at least 100 Tips and Tricks for Planning and Enjoying your Disney Cruise Line Vacations. Subscribe so you don’t miss a single tip or trick (and some hidden secrets).

Other titles coming up include: 

  1. Top Must-Do’s for your Arrival at Disney’s terminal at Port Canaveral
  2. Top Tips and Tricks for Enjoying your Disney Cruise Line Cruise
  3. Top Tips and Tricks for Castaway Cay
  4. Top Tips and Tricks for Pirate Night
  5. Top Tips and Tricks for Disembarkation Day
  6. Top Tips for Packing for your Disney Cruise (including a detailed packing list)
  7. Best FREE Disney Cruise Line Souvenirs

  1. Use a Travel Agent! They take the work out of planning your cruise, send you reminders, and keep up with current promotions, which they would apply to your cruise (if it is applicable). Not to mention, their services are FREE!

  2. Buy photo package from If you pre-pay you will save money! We normally get the “All Photos Package”. It comes with little USB’s in a cute case, plus we get all the hard prints! Photos could cost $20 each if you purchase them individually. We normally leave with around 300 photos (depending on the length of cruise). If you see you are missing photos, check with the photo lab. Sometimes the Aquaduck pictures don’t get printed unless you ask. Also, your pictures could be mixed up in someone else’s folder.

  3. We buy gift cards at discounted prices and apply them to our payments or put them on account to use on the ship. We buy our gift cards at BJ’s Wholesale Club and save 7%, but in order to save that, we have to buy the $50 cards for $46.99. I know there are other ways to save on gift cards; this is just the one we use.
  4. Buy Vacation Protection! We found out the hard way that we need vacation protection on every cruise! The small amount you pay is worth it in case there is an emergency. We are still paying medical bills from 3 years ago because we didn’t have travel insurance and my husband ended up hospitalized in St. Thomas after racking up a hefty bill in the ship’s hospital.
  5. Join your Fish Extender (FE) Group and Cruise Page on Facebook. This is a great way to meet fellow cruisers prior to your sail date. My favorite thing to do on those pages is to provide tips like these to new cruisers and see where everyone is traveling from. You never know, there could be someone you know traveling on your sailing! Just search the name of the ship and the date of embarkation. For example, one of my groups is Disney Dream December 29, 2017. Names of the groups might not be formatted exactly the same but for the most part, they are pretty close! Most FE/Cruise Groups on Facebook plan a structured get-together for your sailing. This is a scavenger hunt that was scheduled so the kids could get to know each other. We met just before the Muster Drill.

  6. What is Fish Extender? Outside each stateroom there is a marine animal of some sort. This is essentially your “mailbox” for your cruise. Sometimes you will receive special certificates, letters of importance, and other communications from administration on the ship. Also, people like to hang special FE Organizers from them and participate in the Fish Extender exchange. It’s like a Secret Santa. You sign up with your cruise group on Facebook. Then you are assigned a FE group (you will get information on number of staterooms you will give to and ages of people in the stateroom). Each night of the cruise each person in your stateroom will receive a gift and you will give yours. I’ve never participated in it, but from what I heard, it’s extremely fun and exciting to come back to your room and have gifts waiting for you.
  7. Schedule a Character Call! You do this from your reservation page when you do your online check-in.

  8. Schedule your Port Arrival Time (PAT) when you do your online check-in. The sooner you do your online check-in the earlier you can get your PAT. The earliest PAT is 10:30 with the last person being able to board the ship at 3:00. Please don’t show up early to the terminal! You will not be able to get on any sooner than your PAT and this keeps the terminal from overcrowding.
  9. Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App! You can get a neat countdown to your sailing date. Once you are in the terminal, you can switch your phone to airplane mode and begin using the app. The app is great for keeping up with all the ships activities, character meet and greets, and you can now even view your dinner menu.

  10. Have you seen posts about printing magnets and decorating your stateroom door? Find a Disney graphics group on Facebook to get them for free, order custom-made ones on Etsy, or design your own (get ideas from Pinterest). Here are some designs we used on our doors.

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I am an avid Disney fan, especially of the Disney cruises. Since learning of my love of travel, something I wasn't able to do as a child, I have decided I wanted to help others make magical memories. I became a personal vacation planner with Magical Vacation Planner in 2017. Since getting this job, I have traveled even more. I love sharing my travel tips with people, especially novice travelers. I hope you find my blog interesting and helpful. Be sure to subscribe if you like it. I post blogs on a regular basis.