Looking to plan a magical family cruise and not sure if your little one is old enough? A Disney Cruise would be perfect—fit for the whole family. We had the opportunity to cruise aboard the Disney Wonder a few weeks ago with our tyke in tow. The cruise line offered so many features and amenities that made the entire vacation seamless with a little one. Here are nine things to know about going on a Disney Cruise Line vacation with a baby or toddler.
1. Be Aware of Age Requirements
While Disney Cruise Line is very welcoming to babies on board, the cruise line does have reasonable age restrictions with health and safety in mind. Before you book, make sure your child is old enough for the particular sailing. Babies must be 6 months old as of the sailing date for most Disney Cruise vacations, but need to be 12 months for Transatlantic and Panama Canal itineraries.
2. Take Advantage of the “it’s a small world” Nursery
Disney Cruise Line has childcare especially tailored to the littlest travelers. Every ship has a nursery that takes babies and toddlers up to age 3, with very reasonable pricing. It offers them a chance to play games, make crafts, watch movies, or take a nap. Pre-register your children for childcare online prior to the cruise to streamline the check-in process.
3. Cabins Are Built for Early Baby Bedtimes
No need to sit in the dark to not disturb your kiddo as they sleep. Cabins on the ships are divided by a very heavy blackout curtain that closes the kids bunk area off from the main bed for adults. Your children can go to sleep while you have access to the rest of the cabin.
4. Ships Are Stocked with Supplies and Gear
While you still may want to bring specific styles your family prefers, the ships have plenty of diapers, infant formula, bottles, pacifiers, baby shampoo, and more. There is even a refrigerator in the room to store snacks, milk, or formula for ease. Pack ‘N Plays are also available to give your baby a safe space to sleep.
5. Tots in Swim Diapers Can Play in the Water
Each ship has a water play area where swim diapers are allowed for the pre-potty trained little ones. Dory’s Reef on the Disney Wonder offered my son hours of enjoyment.
6. Castaway Cay Is a Beach Baby’s Dream
Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, is a stop on most of the cruise line’s trips out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Jogging strollers and wagons with wheels
that can easily navigate sand are available to transport your little one more easily. The beaches have a very gradual drop-off that allows babies and toddlers to wade safely. Free life jackets in small sizes are stocked on every beach to borrow, just like on the ship. Even the bike rentals are baby-friendly! You can rent adult bikes with baby seats on the back to explore the island with your tyke.
7. Bathing Your Baby Is No Problem
Did you get a little sandy at Castaway Cay? No problem! Cabins have a bathtub where you can actually give your baby a bath. Even though these tubs are smaller than the standard size, they were still big enough to give both of my kids a bath at the same time for maximum efficiency.
8. Entertainment Is a Fit for Little Travelers
Assuming it isn’t too much past your baby’s bedtime, the evening shows on Disney Cruise Line are likely to be a hit with tykes. The shows are filled with Disney magic and familiar characters that hold their attention.
9. Don’t Miss Character Meet and Greets
Seeing a little one’s eyes light up meeting Mickey for the first time is what makes any kind of Disney vacation special, including trips on Disney Cruise Line. There are many opportunities for your baby or toddler to meet their favorite characters on the cruise. Book character meet and greets in advance online to have the shortest wait times, or simply seize the moment when pre-dinner photo opps present themselves. On Castaway Cay, there are also a number of character meet-ups as you disembark, so get those cameras ready!
For more Disney magic, check out these Steamboat Willie Party Glasses: