Walt Disney had a magical vision. His vision was not only transformed into the most popular amusement parks in the world but that magic is now traveling across oceans. A Disney Cruise Line vacation offers more than just your favorite characters – from Broadway style musicals and relaxation by the pool to unlimited gourmet cuisine and family-friendly activities around the clock. We’ve put together some of our best Disney Cruise money saving tips to help keep you on budget.
Disney Cruise Money Saving Tips:
1. Discounts and Special Offers –
When planning your next Disney Cruise vacation always check their special offers page online before booking. Disney provides discounts for residents that live in Florida and U.S. Military rates year round. Annually they will offer kids cruise free aboard some of their ships, usually in the spring or fall. In addition if you are able to sail during the off seasons you will save tremendously compared to sailing during the peak summer months or over a holiday. We sailed for HALF the cost in February vs Christmas vacation.
2. Transportation to Port –
Compare prices for your transportation options. Many local hotels provide a park and cruise option included in their one night stay. If you arrive in Florida the day before your cruise you can park the rental car and ride the shuttle to the port. There are also local transfer services available. Depending on the number of people in your party, will determine which option is less expensive for you. Disney’s airport shuttle is not the only option.
3. Surprise Souvenirs –
All around the Disney cruise ship there will be souvenir shops. Kids always want a shiny new object when traveling, especially during a family vacation. A gift during this adventure is more meaningful. Purchase small Disney items in advance and sneak them out of your suitcase to surprise the kids. You can have the Disney crewmember that cleans your cabin place the object on their pillow. Small stuffed animals from the Disney store in your local town or online are a fraction of the cost.
Other places that sell Disney merchandise are Amazon, Target, Party City, and Wal-mart. Even some small items can be found at Dollar Tree. The kids will likely love having a pair of Disney ears to show off their Disney spirit. Buy in advance for less then give them to the kids during the cruise!
4. Remember the Small Stuff –
Just when you think you have packed it all, check your list again. Don’t forget the sunscreen and motion sickness medicine. The small items you may need on your cruise can add up in cost when purchased at the gift shop. Sunscreen is almost half the price at your local Wal-mart.
5. BYOB –
Disney Cruise Line allows their guests to bring their own alcohol on board with them. Instead of paying the same price for one glass of wine, as you would spend on an entire bottle – bring your own. There are some restrictions, however.
All bottles must be placed in your carry-on luggage, not inside of checked bags. You are not supposed to drink your own alcohol in the common areas on the ship, only within your own stateroom. If you wish to bring your own bottle to dinner with you then you must pay a $25 uncorking fee – which has nothing to do with removing a cork.
6. Free Soda Station –
Included in your cruise fare is unlimited food, water, tea, coffee and milk. However, if you want a soda then it’ll cost you extra – unless you use the free soda station near the pool or in the dining room. There is a fee for ordering soda at the bar and through room service, so save your money and only drink soda when it’s free.
There is also a charge for all beverages including juice at the bar. Bottom line, if you’re not getting an alcoholic or nonalcoholic fruity drink – skip the bar.
7. Bring Pirate Gear (or Super Hear or Star Wears) –
Disney’s Pirates in the Caribbean party is a blast! What’s even better than a full night of celebration starting at dinner and going into the late evening with a fireworks show over the ocean, is dressing up like a pirate along with everyone else on the boat. Instead of purchasing your pirate gear on board, bring your own. You can find inexpensive pirate garb at your local dollar store, party store & on Amazon. Eye patches, hoop earrings, plastic hook for your hand, temporary tattoos or a plastic sword works perfect. Disney Cruise Line provides each guest with his or her own Pirate Mickey bandana.
Some sails are also featuring Marvel or Star Wars Characters. Depending on the cruise you’ve booked, pack those costumes as well. You’re little Spiderman fan will love being all dressed up while getting a photo with the man himself.
8. Make Your Own Autograph Book –
Let the kids help you craft their autograph books. You can buy an inexpensive small notepad that is Disney themed at your local party store or make your own out of scrapbook paper. If you want to get creative you can add your child’s photo to the front of the book. That is sure to get the attention of their favorite characters. The Dollar Tree is known to carry Disney character ink pens as well.
9. More Photos for Your Money –
A Disney Cruise Line family adventure is truly magical. If you are going to splurge on one thing during your trip, make it your memories. Consider purchasing a photo package in advance to save money or save 15% on the digital photos package then you can print as many photos as you like.
Disney offers professional photographers around every corner. Each evening before dinner have family portraits taken. With each character your child meets, have their photo snapped. While on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, have some more photos taken. The more photos you have captured the more it’s worth your investment in the CD. Plus those beautiful professional family portraits can serve as gifts for the grandparents on the next holiday.
We also take our own photos earlier in the evening. You an usually find another family willing to swap photography sessions with you.
10. Rebook Before You Disembark –
Loved your Disney Cruise Line vacation? Book your next family adventure before the boat is back at port and you save money plus earn FREE on board credit. You are guaranteed the best rate on your next cruise with Disney.
Bonus tip #1 – Soda, snacks and popcorn at the movie theater is an extra fee, but you can bring your own. Stop by a fountain station to get soda before the show. You can also pick up cookies or snacks from the counter service restaurants.
Bonus tip #2 – Currently, you can get the Disney Rewards Visa credit card and earn a $200 gift card bonus. Use this to pay for onboard purchases or even to put towards the cost of your cruise. You’ll also earn 1% reward dollars on all purchases.
Bonus tip #3 – Make sure to have your cell phone turned off or in airplane mode to avoid crazy roaming charges once you arrive home. The ship offers Wave Phones to keep in touch with friends and family. You can also download the Navigator App (free to use on the ship) to send text messages to other passengers with the app. This will be much easier than texting on those old school phones.
Bonus tip #4 – You can now swipe your cruise card to pay for the self-serve laundry machines onboard. Much easier than bringing quarters!
Which part of your upcoming Disney Cruise Line vacation are you most looking forward to? Which Disney character is your favorite?
A couple of books to consider:
Have a money saving tip we missed? Share with us in the comments.
Don’t miss my Disney Cruise Secrets post for more tips & tricks for sailing on the high seas Disney style!