Are you looking for tips on surviving a Disney Cruise Line vacation with a baby or toddler?
My husband and I cruised have cruised with both of our daughters as babies and as toddlers, and we find cruising with DCL to be the most relaxing way to travel with little kids. If you are wondering whether a Disney cruise is right for a toddler (or a baby), I can tell you that it totally is!
In this post, I will list the ways Disney Cruise Line helps those traveling with little ones to have the most relaxing, stress free family vacation!
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Disney Cruise Line (along with all other major cruise lines) has an infant policy put in place regarding cruising with a baby. Some of the most common questions you will see about taking a baby on a Disney cruise are as follows:
How old does a baby have to be to cruise?
You are able to bring your baby on a cruise as long as he or she is at least 6 months of age by the day you set sail. This is the infant policy for MOST Disney Cruise Line sailings. However, if you are sailing on a Transatlantic or Panama Canal cruise itinerary, your baby must be at least 1 year old to sail.
Are babies free?
Unfortunately babies are NOT free on Disney Cruise Line no matter their age. Instead, you pay based on the occupancy of your room. The first two guests on your stateroom reservation will be charged the full amount. The third and fourth guests on your same room reservation will have a lower rate.
So, if you are sailing with only yourself and your infant, you will pay full price for each of you since you are the first two guests on the stateroom reservation.
Activities for Toddlers and Babies
Your kids will undoubtedly enjoy meeting the Disney characters on the cruise ship. Mickey and friends frequently provide meet and greets in all different areas of the ship. Those cruising with a baby or toddler will be happy to know that these lines are no where near as long as they are at Disney World either!
In addition to the numerous opportunities to meet your favorite characters, Disney Cruise Line offers plenty of things to do on the ship with toddlers.
Toddler Time is a special activity that typically takes place once per day on your cruise. If you attend a Toddler Time event, you will find age appropriate toys and climbing features perfect for little ones. This event is free to attend. Just look at the daily schedule of activities on the cruise, and you should see it listed.
Jack Jack’s Diaper Dash is a super adorable and hilarious event that takes place usually once per cruise. The baby race occurs in the atrium and is for those babies who are crawling but not walking.
One of the most fun places to spend time on any Disney cruise ship is the pool deck. There are so many fun activities for kids (and adults) on the pool decks, including water slides, Funnel Vision, and character themed pools.
Since most cruise lines require kids to be 3 years old AND potty trained in order to use their pools, toddlers are often out of luck with a space to play on the pool deck.
This is not the case with Disney Cruise Line. DCL is one of the only cruise lines that offers baby pool areas for younger children, including those in swim diapers.
If you are traveling with toddlers or babies, rest assured that your child will have lots of fun on the pool deck no matter on which ship your family decides to sail. For a comprehensive guide on choosing the best cruise ship for your family, you can check out this post:
If your child is 3 years old or older AND potty trained, she can play in the cruise ship pools. Disney Cruise Line offers small, shallow pools that are the perfect size for smaller kids who are older than 3 and don’t require swim diapers. My three year old was able to stand in the Mickey Pool on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.
*Insider Tip- If your child can’t quite reach the bottom or if he wants to swim in the deeper pools, Disney Cruise Line provides swim vests right on the pool deck. These are free of charge and readily available for anyone who wants to use them!
Disney Cruise Line offers kids clubs for all ages, including for toddlers and babies.
The Oceaneer Club and the Oceaneer Lab are located on each of the Disney cruise ships. Child care at these kids clubs is included in the price of your cruise; however, your child must be at least 3 years old AND potty trained.
If your child does not meet the requirements, you can visit these super fun youth areas during Open House hours with your child.
It’s a Small World Nursery
If you are cruising with a baby or a toddler under the age of three, you still have a child care option. It’s a Small World Nursery is a child care area for babies and toddlers, and it is located on each of the Disney Cruise Line ships. This child care option is NOT included in the price of your cruise, and you will be charged an hourly fee to use the nursery.
Disney Cruise Toddler Tips
If you are looking for tips and tricks for taking a toddler on a Disney cruise, this list provides some of my favorite ways to help your family vacation run smoothly.
Disney Cruise Line allows guests to make special requests for their staterooms, including some great options for toddlers and babies. Some of the items you can request include:
- crib (pack-n-play)
- diaper genie
- bed rail
We usually request a bed rail for the sofa or bed in our stateroom rather than asking for a crib. Your stateroom host will set up the bed rail each evening while you are at dinner and then will turn the bed back into a couch each morning.
Another nice feature for those traveling with little ones is the huge curtain in your room that separates the bed from the living space. This is especially useful during nap times because you can lay down your toddler and close the curtain to keep light and noise out.
This way you can talk, watch TV, and get ready for dinner without disturbing your baby’s nap.
I like to borrow a stroller from Guest Services during our cruises. The hallways on the cruise ships are fairly narrow, so you probably don’t want to bring a really wide stroller with you.
A narrow umbrella stroller would work, but we like to have a stroller that reclines for our toddler to nap on the go. The City Mini Baby Jogger that Disney Cruise Line has at Guest Services is perfect! It reclines and provides storage space in the basket under the seat.
It’s also super compact and light. My favorite feature is that I can collapse it with just one hand and easily carry it around with me. We have owned several strollers for our two girls and this is BY FAR my favorite one that we own!
This is the City Mini Baby Jogger we have. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
If you choose to borrow the stroller once on the ship, Guest Services will put a charge on your cruise account for around $250. Once you return the stroller to them, they will remove this charge. So, it ends up being free to borrow!
Even though the DCL broadway style shows are scheduled for later in the evening, my three year old was able to stay up and enjoy the live entertainment. A great tip for those sailing with toddlers is to put your little ones in pajamas before the show in case they fall asleep during the performance!
The dining rooms on the Disney cruise ships are super toddler friendly. You can request a high chair or a booster seat right on your online account before you set sail. You servers will be really helpful with choosing foods for your toddler and can even make special changes to the meal if needed. Also, the chef in the kitchen will puree food for you so that you don’t have to worry about packing baby food for your little one.
Final Review of Cruising with a Toddler
The Disney Cruise Line crew members do an amazing job of helping your vacation with a toddler run smoothly. Your nightly dinner servers will entertain your kids with things like making balloon animals and performing magic tricks.
The room hosts do an amazing job of keeping your stateroom clean as well. Your stateroom and bathrooms will be cleaned and organized each morning while you are out enjoying the ship or a port of call. Then, while you are at dinner, your stateroom host will return to clean and organize your stateroom with a turndown service.
Traveling with a baby or toddler is never an easy task, but Disney Cruise Line makes it as relaxing as it can be. They tend to take care of everything for your kids, which means the adults can enjoy the trip too!
What tips do you have for taking a Disney cruise with a toddler?
Comment below and share them with us!