The Disney Cruise Line® has become one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, and it’s for good reason that the company is planning two new ships that are set to be completed in the early 20s. Port Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast is home to two of the four currently active ships. There’s a great pride in being the main home port for this line, and the surrounding community takes care in making sure you have an excellent time in port. Below are some tips to make the most of your cruise.

One of the great aspects of a Disney Cruise is how much of the magic of the parks they manage to incorporate on these floating cities. So many of the things you think about doing in preparation for visiting a Disney park come into play for the cruises, as well.

  1. Start Your Cruise Vacation Early: When going on a Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral, start your cruise vacation beachside! Plan to stay overnight at one of our great hotels (the Radisson Resort at the Port, Country Inn & Suites at Cape Canaveral, or Homewood Suites by Hilton), so you can wake up rested and ready to embark on your cruise. There are a lot of great activities to participate in before floating off into the sunset. The port itself is home to absolutely terrific seafood restaurants that are right on the water. The best of those include:

          And when you and your family aren’t eating or admiring the view, check out some of the remarkable entertainment options that surround the port here.

  1. Disney Character Calls: Before you set sail, surprise the kids with a Character Call. You can schedule a character to call your children the morning of the cruise or weeks ahead of departure, sharing in the excitement of sailing away. And best of all, this amenity is FREE! You can schedule your call here once your cruise is paid in full.
  2. Autographs: Bring something interesting for character autographs. Pick up something of your choosing, like a T-shirt or a matte frame for a picture, and be ready to meet those characters for photo ops and autograph sessions throughout your cruise vacation. This is completely complimentary and is a unique souvenir for your little ones. Oh, and don’t forget your Sharpies!
  3. Door Décor: All the doors onboard are metal: many guests decorate them with a bevy of Disney magnets, and you should join this tradition. Another onboard tradition are the “fish-extenders” guests bring with them, which are basically little fabric pockets you personalize and hang outside your door. Other guests will come by and fill them with treats and memorabilia (remember to bring some little gifts for others).
  4. Mickey’s Scavenger Hunt: Stop by Guest Services for more information on this, but basically, this is a journey for Hidden Mickeys throughout the ship. If you don’t know what Hidden Mickeys are, oh, you’ll find out.
  5. View the Latest Movie Releases: One of the many advantages of staying on a Disney Cruise is you get to see the latest, first-run Disney features in their theater for FREE! Family fare plays during the day while more current releases in the evening. And sometimes, guests are treated to movie premieres at sea. 
  6. Make Reservations: There are many activities on-board Disney Cruise Line that are widely popular and require advanced reservations. The Disney Princesses make scheduled appearances in the Lobby Atrium throughout the cruise, but due to popularity, it’s recommended to get a reservation ticket on the first day of your cruise. Boys and girls can experience a magical makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. At this special salon, children will walk in and leave as a beautiful princess, courageous knight or even a famous mouse! Space is limited and reservations can be made prior to embarkation.
  7. Pirate Night: All the Disney Cruise ships have Pirate Night – a pirate-themed dinner followed by a “Pirate in the Caribbean” show and deck party. The entire ship and crew gets decked out in pirate gear, so plan ahead and bring pirate themed outfits for yourself and the kids. 
  8. Shows on In-Room Television: The stage shows on Disney ships are legendary. But there are a lot of them, and there are an awful lot of other things to do aboard the boat. Besides, you and your family may need some R&R at some point in this journey. Fear not; the shows are broadcast live on all in-room televisions.
  9. Parents, Check Out that Nightlife: Obviously, Disney Cruise was designed for families, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few really well-designed bars on board. An underrated aspect of Disney cruises, these bars make mysterious and excellent themed drinks.

These are but a few suggestions and tips for your Disney trip out of Florida’s Space Coast. The wonder and magic of the boats and the port itself reveal themselves when you arrive, and both leave an impression that will be remembered by your family forever.