10 Things Not to Pack on Your Disney Cruise

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There have been a lot of great blog posts here on Touring Plans about packing for Disney vacations, and Scott wrote one recently on packing for your Disney cruise. Well, I’m here to help you with the opposite problem! Packing too much! We all could use some extra space in our suitcase, right? Or a little less weight? I can’t promise to help you stay under 50 pounds, mercy, I can’t even seem to do that, but maybe I can get you closer!

1. Too Many Clothes – It’s so easy to do. Just don’t do it. It can be overwhelming when you think about how many clothes you think you need on a Disney cruise. Swimsuits during the day, shorts when you’re not in your swimsuit, nice clothes for dinner, dress clothes for dress up nights, etc., etc. Well, there are washer and dryers onboard! They’re just a few dollars a load, and you’re good to go. Tip – the laundry rooms are least busy on port days! Disney has also changed the dress code for the main dining rooms. Most nights are cruise casual. Disney requests no swimwear or tank tops, but shorts are fine if you don’t feel like dressing up. That will save you some packing space! Also, if you really want to go all out on formal night but don’t want to pack a tux, you can rent one onboard. So lay out everything you want to bring and really look at it. Do you want 6 swimsuits? Yes. Do you need 6 swimsuits? Not so much!

2. Hanging Door Organizer – A hanging door organizer – think shoe holder that typically hangs on a closet door – used to be on my must pack list! It really helps de-clutter your room and bathroom when you can put small things in the clear pockets. I put sunglasses in it, sunscreen, Dramamine, lanyards at the end of the day, things you want to be able to locate quickly. Unfortunately, the metal hooks that these hang on were apparently scratching the top of the bathroom doors when guests used them, and Disney has asked that guests not use them. In fact, Disney has said guests will be charged $100 if they use them and the paint is scratched. If you’re like me and don’t want to give it up, I do have a suggestion. On my last two cruises, I wrapped both ends of the hooks that the door organizer hangs from in duct tape so that the metal did not come in contact with the door. No scratching at all! If you go this route, be prepared for your stateroom host to tell you not to use it.

3. Iron or Steamer – Disney will not permit guests to have irons or steamers in their staterooms. As tempting and convenient as it would be, they are fire hazards, so don’t bring them! There are irons available to use in the laundry rooms. Here’s a good tip for you, as well. Disney has a dry cleaning and laundry service onboard. The prices are in your stateroom. You can also have your clothes pressed onboard for half the price of cleaning! We like to gather up our really wrinkly clothes as we unpack and send them out to be pressed so we don’t have to deal with it. It usually runs us around $30 or so, but it’s so worth it to us!

4. Beach Towels – Do not waste space in your suitcase for towels! Towels are abundant onboard. Your stateroom host will leave as many towels as he can fit in your bathroom. There is always an abundance of towels up on the pool decks. On Castaway Cay there are towels waiting for you when you get off the ship. In other ports, if you are on an official Disney excursion, towels are usually at your meeting point, or they remind you to bring towels with you from the ship. You can pick them up on the pool deck. If you’re not on a Disney excursion, you can still bring towels off the ship with you. Just make sure you always bring your towels back onboard at the end of the day.

5. Power Strip – In this day and age of families with multiple devices with chargers, curling irons, flat irons, hair dryers, and more, it never seems like there are enough plugs in the house. Well, take two adults and two teenagers and cram them in a small cruise room, and that problem grows exponentially. Power strips do help, but unfortunately Disney restricts them as a fire hazard. If cast members see them, they will confiscate them and return them at the end of the cruise. The good news is that after operating the two classic ships for many years, Disney realized they needed more outlets, so more outlets were incorporated into the Dream and Fantasy as these new ships were being built. The newly reimagined Magic also has new outlets in the rooms, and the iHome clock can help out with recharging some models of iPhones. You can also bring a smaller outlet multiplier: just don’t bring a power strip, or you risk that just being wasted space in your suitcase!

6. Diapers – Anyone with a baby knows how much room diapers can take up! Sadly, even in the magical bubble that is a Disney cruise, you will still need them. But, you don’t have to bring them! Disney has partnered with Babies Travel Lite, and you can pre-order hundreds of different baby supplies and have them waiting for you in your stateroom. No need to lug them around anymore!

7. Snorkeling Gear – Snorkeling is one of our favorite activities on cruises, and I am not in any way shape or form saying don’t snorkel. I’m saying if you’re not crazy particular about your snorkeling gear, you can get it almost anywhere. You can rent equipment on Castaway Cay for $25 for adults and $10 for children under 10. Any official snorkeling excursion booked through the cruise line will include the equipment. If you book with an outside company, it often provides the equipment, as well. Many beaches you visit on your own will also have vendors renting gear. It will cost you a little more than bringing your own, and it’s not usually top of the line equipment, but it sure does save a lot of room (and sand?) in your suitcase!

8. Hair Dryer – The Disney ships all have hair dryers onboard. On the Dream, Fantasy and Magic there are full size hair dryers (with diffusers for the curly haired among us) in the desk in your room. On the Wonder and the Magic there are dryers on the wall of the bathroom (yes, the new Magic has two hair dryers in each room!?!). They aren’t the most powerful dryers in the world, and they resemble a vacuum cleaner hose, but they do the trick if you want to save some room!

9. Shampoo and Conditioner – Disney has name brand (H2O) bath products in their staterooms. This is not generic hotel shampoo: it’s good stuff that they sell in the shops onboard and that you can find at other retailers on land (sadly, minus the Captain Mickey on the front). It’s good stuff! The concierge rooms often include one of my favorite new products, a solar relief gel. Trust me, it’s heaven if you did too much of #7 without sunscreen on your back!

10. Life Jackets or Inflatables – Don’t waste space in your suitcase with pool noodles, inflatable mattresses, etc. Disney won’t allow them, and there’s really not room for them in the pools. At Castaway Cay there are tubes and mattresses for rent. The Disney tubes are clear and don’t obstruct the lifeguards’ views of the swimmers like some would. Disney has life jackets available at no cost by the pools onboard and at Castaway Cay. In fact, if you are snorkeling at Castaway Cay, you are required to wear a provided life jacket. How much you inflate it is up to you. The life jackets at the pool are small and perfect for your little non-swimmers.

How about you? Were there things you bring on cruises and realized later you shouldn’t have?

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Posted on January 3, 2014

24 Responses to “10 Things Not to Pack on Your Disney Cruise”

  • Totally agree with #9; I love h20 products. Bonus: if you want to hold onto that luxurious spa experience of their shampoo/conditioner, I often find the large tubes available for sale at TJ Maxx/Marshalls!

    As for #1 – this could be an option for longer cruises or if you’re the one responsible for packing your whole family’s suitcases, but I always bring more clothes than I need on the cruise because doing laundry onboard (or paying to have my clothes laundered) does not sound like something I want to waste my time/money on during my precious time aboard. ;)

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:21 pm EDT

      I’ve seen it there too, Kristina! I really like the products.

      I’m not big on doing laundry on vacation either, but the times I’ve had to, like on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. :)

  • How thick is your hair? I absolutely need to bring my hair dryer!! I’ve tried the new ones & they are just not that powerful. They old ones that were on the wall would have taken me hours to dry my hair.

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:22 pm EDT

      Not very. Lol. I use the ones on the wall with no problem. I know some people with long thick hair hated those though.

      • by Kristina Murphy on January 4, 2014, at 5:22 pm EDT

        I love those new ones, I stumbled upon that hair dryer on the last day of our cruise, lol! Of course, I have short-ish hair.

  • You should also mention that in the pools, kids are only allowed to use goggles that cover their eyes only. They can’t use the masks that cover their eyes and nose. My son was a little disappointed by this.

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:22 pm EDT

      Good tip, Patty!

    • Sadly, snorkeling in the pool is the highlight of vacation for my daughter, Disney does not allow it at resorts or on their ships. I have gotten a variety of answers as to the reason, but we always gotta try because she enjoys it so much so we find out the hard way wherever we go. We even tried while at Disneyland and got a stern warning.

      • The only place my son was told to remove his mask & snorkel was at Typhoon Lagoon in the wavepool. He has always used it in the pools at the resorts and on our last cruise too. Not sure why it wouldn’t be allowed?

  • I had heard they were taking power strips on DCL, but checked Disney’s website before packing for my cruise (Wonder, sailed December 27, 2013) and it didn’t say anything there about being restricted. So we took a chance. Our stateroom attendant obviously saw it and unplugged it from the outlet during the day, but it wasn’t taken. I guess I’d say if you were taking a chance, make sure your stateroom # is on it. The let us have it, though.

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:23 pm EDT

      That’s good advice, Carolyn. I believe the official wording on the do not bring list for DCL is a surge protector.

    • Strangely enough, bringing a power strip was on every cruise tips list out there for the past few years. The hanging door organizer was another one. I usually already have a power strip for use at the hotel so I’ll have to remember to keep it packed on DCL. Thanks

  • Strongly disagree about the hairdryer. It has no power and no attachments. If you have thick hair and want to style it for the more formal occasions, pack your own. Otherwise, great advice!!

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:24 pm EDT

      You must have thick hair as well, Ashley. :) I do not and I’m good, but those with thick hair hated the wall dryers.

  • In regards to #10 – are water wings/floaties not allowed either?

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 3, 2014, at 8:26 pm EDT

      Here’s the official answer from DCL’s website, Kelly:
      Coast Guard personal flotation devices (PFDs), water wings and flotation sewn into bathing suits can be brought onboard and are permitted in Mickey’s Pool.

  • #1 there is nothing more opposite of “vacation” than doing laundry. I can’t imagine spending even 10 minutes in the laundry room on my relaxing vacation.

    #5 is this recent? I brought my power strip on all 5 DCL trips and never had a problem with it.

    #7 the only reason not to bring your own gear is if you can’t fit it in your luggage. I don’t want to pay for something on the island I already own, and I want to be darn sure I have a mask that I know fits me well. The rented ones on the island often don’t, and fill with water as soon as I submerge.

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 7, 2014, at 12:14 pm EDT

      Ha! I feel that pain, I’m not a big proponent of laundry on vacation. But sometimes it’s necessary. Packing for my 12 night Med cruise would have been downright impossible if not for planned laundry. The option to pay Disney to do it is always there.

      It is fairly recent. It’s only been in the last few months that people have reported their power strips being taken and returned at the end of the trip.

      Absolutely. If you can fit it, bring it. But I know there’s no way I have room for it in my luggage. I just have to make do with rentals. :)

  • I agree with all except #7. As a scuba instructor, I always advise people to bring your own gear. It is much better, especially for younger kids, to use something that you are comfortable with and that fits you properly. Also, I don’t want to use a snorkel that has been in someone else’s mouth, yuck! I know they disinfect them, but the smell/taste of that is horrible to me. We used them once in the snorkel area at Typhoon Lagoon (trying to save luggage space and only took my son’s gear), but never again.

  • Hi, Tammy! Great info! Thank you so much. Quick question: Are flat irons allowed? I keep doing various Google searches, but haven’t found a a yes or no answer. Thank you again!