Why Your Family Will Love a Disney Cruise

Two young boys pose excitedly with Donald Duck on a Disney Cruise ship.

If you’re in the mood for fun with your favorite characters, family-friendly activities, and a touch of Disney magic, your family will definitely love a Disney Cruise! Not only does a cruise offers families a fabulous adventure on the high seas, but it’s also perfect for a multi-generational trip or a vacation with young kids. Luckily, Disney Cruises provide a ton of variety, whether you want to travel to the Caribbean, Mexico, or beyond! Our Families Love Travel community also agrees that Disney Cruise Line is one of the best cruise lines for families with kids of all ages. Wondering what it would be like to take your family on a Disney cruise? Keep reading for ideas, tips, tricks, and more to get to most out of your cruise vacation with Mickey Mouse and friends! 

About Disney Cruise Lines for Families

With a name like Disney, families know it’s destined to be a kid-friendly cruise! From its signature Sail-A-Wave Party to its pirate-themed dinners, Disney earns a nod of approval from passengers for its roster full of entertainment options. Passengers can enjoy kid-friendly dining venues and amenities like waterslides and mini-golf courses, and Disney characters onboard engage with children. The line’s five ships also offer adults-only dining. Plus, leisure areas to unwind in waterways across the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe.

On the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, more than 70% of staterooms offer verandahs. Adjoining rooms can remove the barrier separating the outdoor space to create even more areas to hang out. Plus, nearly all rooms have an ocean view or create that view through a Magical Porthole. No wonder Disney offers one of the best cruise lines for families

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What Makes Disney Cruises Unique for Families?

Two young boys look up at a screen, where Mickey Mouse is dancing, while eating dinner on a Disney Cruise Line.

Between the character sightings and entertainment, the ships exude some of that Disney magic, if you care to indulge. But even if your family aren’t Disney enthusiasts, cruise-goers will appreciate the high service standards the company is known for.

While most cruise lines have their own private islands, Castaway Cay is a uniquely Disney destination! You get the feeling right when you leave the ship and see Donald, Daisy, and Mickey greeting you. And there are some other signs of Disney, not the least of which is your dining team which heads to the island to make sure your meal at Cookies is as fun as your dinner rotation.

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Best Tips for Taking a Disney Cruise with Kids

A pristine beach at Castaway Cay, one of the best stops on any Disney Caribbean Cruise.

Families seeking tips for embarking on a Disney cruise will appreciate these parent-recommended insights:

  • First, book your Disney cruise for the family at the best value! Generally, the lowest prices are when new itineraries are released – for example, summer itineraries have historically been released in May the year prior. There are Florida resident and military discounts as well, so check out the website or with your travel agent for more details.
  • Second, you can connect with potential “neighbors” and families with similarly aged kids well before you set sail. Dedicated and passionate Disney cruisers will set up Facebook groups that serve as a central communications channel. They’re useful for connecting in smaller groups, planning group-only meet-ups and happy hours, sharing tips and tricks, and more!
  • Are you a big planner or do you like to go with the flow? The good news is both types of families can make the most out of their cruise with the Disney Cruise Line app. You can scope out and favorite activities for your entire cruise. Or, simply wake up and scroll through the many options planned that day and go from there.
  • Disney has some amazing excursions that cater to all ages and activity levels. Looking for a more intimate experience? Disney offers private options, or you can search for activities with non-Disney travel providers. The benefit of booking with Disney is they are responsible to get you back to the ship safely and on time. But local travel providers generally offer cost savings and even more varied experiences. 

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Kid-Friendly Hang-Outs on a Disney Cruise

A close up of the sign for "It's a Small World Nursery" on a Disney Cruise Line.

If your kids love Disney characters, a big draw is meeting them in person throughout your cruise. You’ll see anything from the mainstream (think Mickey, Minnie, and Donald) to the more obscure (Mister Smee and Max). However, it’s definitely not the only draw for being on board!

There are activities throughout the day – including periods on port days – with kids and/or families in mind. Among the many kids-only options is the It’s a Small World Nursery, which offers the youngest sailors supervised play. For the elementary school set, the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab give potty-trained kids ages 3 to 12 a chance to have fun. Transform into a Marvel superhero, enjoy a slumber party with Pluto, race Lightning McQueen around a Magic Playfloor, join the resistance with BB8, or simply partake in crafts and camp-style games! Teens have their own hang-out spaces with the Edge and Vibe clubs offering dance parties, video games, karaoke, and more.

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Disney Cruise Activities the Whole Family Will Love

Two kids at the helm of a Star Wars-themed game on a Disney cruise ship.

For activities involving the whole family, Oceaneer Club/Lab open houses let adults in on the fun. But there are plenty of other spaces to play on board with activities. Enjoy trivia, crafts such as an Inside Out memory orb or Marvel mask, and cooking demonstrations. Have a sleuth in the family? They will absolutely love the Midship Detective Agency, as they solve cases by picking up clues across the ship! Plus, the crown jewel at the end of each day is a Broadway-style show. Or, other entertainment like comedians and magicians. There are movies all day in the theaters and on the pool deck, too!

Also, we can’t forget to mention the kid-friendly dining! From specialized children’s food and drink menus to entertainment during dinner and dedicated servers who learn preferences and help cut up food, the youngest sailors are well cared for at mealtime. 

Want more cruise suggestions for your family? Check out this list of the Best Cruise Lines For Families With Kids Of all Ages!

Why Adults Love Disney Cruises

The entrance to an adult-only restaurant on a Disney cruise ship.

While the family-friendly fun will make your sailing a truly special trip with your kid(s), the adults-only areas and activities let you connect with your partner or other adults sailing on your voyage. At the top of your list for consideration is fine dining at either the Italian-inspired Palo and/or Remy’s French cuisine. Both options offer brunch and dinner, while Remy’s dessert tasting is an added special treat. If you enjoy trying new drinks, the (largely alcoholic) drink tastings enable you to experiment and expand your repertoire!

Looking to hang out without anything planned? There are adult-only areas on each ship with a lounge, pool, café, and more to enjoy. Or to take your relaxation up a notch, the Senses Spa has treatment rooms that make you feel like you’re floating on the ocean as you drift into a state of peace!

While the many activities onboard may keep you away from your room, it’s also nice to know you can rest your head in a cabin designed with families in mind. In many rooms, murphy beds and bunk beds emerge from the walls and ceilings to create more sleeping space. A privacy curtain also separates sleeping spaces and a split bathroom helps families make the most of the space. Plus, the very attentive room stewards help keep things clean, organized, and set up appropriately for your needs. 

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Preparing for Your Disney Cruise as a Family

A young boy watched an interactive display with Goofy, while sailing aboard a Disney cruise ship.

The great thing about a Disney Cruise is if you have the required travel documents and other requirements to get on board, you don’t really have to plan anything else in advance! Almost all activities, meet and greets, amenities, and dining options are on demand. The exception is primarily two-fold for adults – specialty dining at Palo and Remy and drink tastings to consume the finer things and the spa activities to relax. And for the family, the Royal Tea and Goofy’s Sports Simulator activities must also be reserved when your booking window opens (usually at midnight Eastern Time in the US). Didn’t find what you wanted? No worries! Contact Guest Services upon boarding the ship (in person or via the app) to see if there is potential availability for your desired activity. 

RELATED: Read our list of The Best Time of Year to Visit Disney World with Kids!

You Won’t Regret Setting Sail With Disney!

A family of four poses with Donald Duck, outfitted in a tux, while sailing with Disney.

We hope this article underscored Why Your Family Will Love A Disney Cruise! Your family will have an amazing time aboard any of the ships as you explore fun destinations, participate in family-friendly activities, and relax (or not) as much as you’d like. Enjoy your Disney Cruise with kids! 

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.


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Megan Tucker

Megan Tucker is a public relations professional, wife, mom and lover of all things travel and travel planning, based in Arlington, Virginia. While she grew up in New England, she's lived in the Washington, DC area, London and Abu Dhabi, and has traveled across the United States, the Caribbean, Western Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania with and without her husband and two sons.