Going on a Disney Cruise with a large family can seem pretty stressful – but it doesn’t have to be! Get our best Disney Cruise tips for sailing with a big family.
It’s no secret that Disney Cruise Line is for families – no matter how big or small. You can find something for anyone and everyone on board the Disney ships, and your entire family is sure to have a blast on their cruise! If you’ve been searching the web for the best Disney cruise tips for large families, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been there, done that, and can tell you all that you need to know about it.
For the purposes of this blog post, a family of 5 or more is considered a “large family”.
We took our first multi-generational Disney Cruise vacation back in May of 2019. All together, there were 6 of us (including our baby). On the past 3 cruises we had taken, it had just been my husband and I, so we had to get used to having our entire family tagging along and making sure everyone got a turn to do what they wanted to do. That was a little difficult at times, but with the proper planning we made it happen. And you can too!
If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of planning a Disney vacation for a big group or family, don’t do it alone! We can help you for FREE! We plan every detail for you by helping you choose the right itinerary, stateroom(s), excursions, and more and we offer competitive onboard credits! Feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to get a free, no obligation quote on your cruise.
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1. Tips for Choosing the Right Stateroom
If you aren’t familiar with the types of staterooms that Disney Cruise Line offers, check out this post that we wrote detailing each room type. Then come back here and take a look at these tips for choosing the right stateroom for a large family – you’re going to need them!
Most Disney Cruise staterooms will only fit a maximum of 4 adults. Which sometimes presents a problem for big families: you either have to split up into two separate rooms or upgrade to a concierge suite. The concierge suite is absolutely gorgeous and has many perks besides having more room. It’s definitely more spacious than the other staterooms, you get special pre-arrival services such as help booking your excursions, a cast member to answer any questions you may have, exclusive areas aboard the ship, special gifts, and much more. If you can swing it, I highly recommend going with a concierge suite.
But, if the concierge suite and all it’s perks are out of budget for you, no worries! You still have another option. You can get two connecting staterooms. Connecting staterooms are never guaranteed, but if you have enough adults in your party for this to work, it can actually be a great thing because this way you get two bathrooms (and two verandahs if you choose a verandah stateroom – which I highly recommend). If you need help figuring out how exactly to book these staterooms, let us know! We can help. Email us at email@example.com.
Whatever you choose, you will be astounded at the accommodations Disney provides for you during your cruise. They truly know how to pamper their guests! Pictured below is the verandah stateroom.
2. Invest in good suitcases
When you have a large family, it’s always important to pack light (more people = more stuff = less room). Disney allows each passenger to have 2 checked bags and a carry on, but I would try to limit that to just 1 checked bag and a carry on if you are traveling with a large group. To do this, I recommend investing in good luggage, like these American Tourister suitcases (we LOVE ours). You probably won’t be able to stuff everything in a small suitcase (especially if you are going on a week long or longer cruise) so you’ll need to have something sturdy and big to pack your things in.
The staterooms do not have loads and loads of space, which means you will have to get creative in how you store your luggage. Under the bed is open space, so you can store several suitcases there. If you’d rather completely unpack, there is a closet and drawers in your room.
3. Take advantage of the onboard laundry facilities
I know that absolutely no one likes to do laundry on vacation. BUT, to prevent your large family from bringing a ton of clothes they most likely won’t wear, you might want to plan to take a few hours one day and do some laundry at the 24 hour access onboard laundry facility. The machines are free (except for your detergent). If you absolutely don’t want to do this, you have two options: invest in a really big, durable suitcase that will fit a ton of outfits (like the one I mentioned above) OR pay extra for full service laundry and dry cleaning services. They will pick up your clothes and return them to your stateroom once they are done. This would be a huge time saver!
4. Make sure everyone in your party has the proper documentation
Depending on which itinerary you are sailing, Disney requires that you have specific important travel documents with you in order to get on and off the ship. Even if your itinerary does not require a passport, I HIGHLY recommend it. If for whatever reason you need to quickly disembark the ship and fly home from a port, you will need your passport (and you never know when/if that might happen). Make sure you do some research on exactly what kind of documentation you need and be sure that everyone in your party has those documents. If you are unsure where to find this information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help!
Ears Tip: A good way to keep up with all of your family’s important documents during your cruise embarkation is to use a folder or very small portable binder (one with a pouch would be perfect for passports!). When you book your cruise with us, we will provide you with a packet (folder) full of expert tips, tricks, and important information that you will need to know during your cruise. This way, you’ll have all of your important documents in one place and you’ll be less likely to lose them. We will also be available to answer any questions or help you in any way during your entire cruise via our direct text/calling line.
5. Get travel insurance for every member of your party
Of all the Disney cruise tips, I would say that this is of utmost importance, no matter how many people are in your party. i am a firm believer in travel insurance because you just never know what might happen and you always want to be prepared. I know that you don’t want to think about anything bad happening on your vacation, but it’s always better to be prepared than to be stuck with thousands of dollars in bills that you can’t pay. What if there was a medical emergency while you were on board? What if something happened at home and you need to fly back? Or what if you lose your passport, or a hurricane starts brewing right before your cruise is setting sail? You don’t want to be unprotected when that happens and lose all of your hard earned money that you saved up for your cruise. Do yourself a favor and be smart – get travel insurance!
We absolutely do not recommend Disney Cruise Line’s insurance policy. It is pricey, has lots of restrictions, and does not cover everything that you might run into before and during your vacation. We recommend an insurance provider called Travel Insured. They offer affordable and full coverage policies for any vacation and family. My husband and I have personally used this company for our vacations and we have been so pleased every time. If you would like more information on this, we’d be happy to help! Email us at email@example.com.
6. Book excursions, dining, spa appointments, and character meet and greets in advance
The onboard and shore activities, special dining, spa appointments, and character greetings can fill up very quickly. This is why it is so important to book all of these things as soon as you can so you don’t miss out. Depending on how many Disney cruises you’ve been on, your excursions will become available for booking at various times:
- First time cruisers: 75 days before arrival date
- Silver Castaway Club members: 90 days before arrival date
- Gold Castaway Club members: 105 days before arrival date
- Platinum Castaway Club members/Concierge: 120 days before arrival date
I know what you’re thinking – there are lots of dates to keep up with when you book a Disney cruise! But don’t worry! We can help you for FREE! When you book your cruise with us, we keep up with every one of your important dates – always making sure that we are ready for the next step so you never have to worry about missing out on anything. We book everything for you – including your excursions, adult-only dining, character meet and greets, travel insurance, and more! We give you suggestions and advice based on your personal needs and preferences so you can have the vacation that you’ve been dreaming of. Grab your free, no obligation quote for your cruise here.
7. Have some adult time
If you are traveling with kids, make sure you send the kids to the kids clubs at least for one night and get some adult time away! Disney offers SO many fun and relaxing things for adults to do – the list is practically endless. If you need a few ideas on what to do, let me give you some of my favorites in this post about 15 things for adults to do on Disney Cruise Line.
8. Take advantage of the kids clubs
One of the best perks of DCL is that the kids clubs are included in the price of your cruise! Disney has top notch kids clubs that your children will absolutely love going to. There are four main clubs, each for different age groups: The Oceaneer Club, the Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe. Be sure to check out these clubs on your first night at open house and sign your kids up!
9. Get matching family shirts
This is a great way to be able to keep up with everyone on your cruise, especially on embarkation/debarkation days and port days. We went to our local pawn shop that does vinyl work/embroidery and had some personalized shirts made. They made for wonderful photos and we will always have a keepsake to help us remember our cruise!
10. Dress up for pirate night
Pirate night is a super fun night on most Caribbean and Bahamian sailings where everything is pirate themed. Your entire family can dress up in pirate gear, there are pirate themed shows on the deck, a fireworks show, and a special buffet at the end of the night at Cabanas. We usually go all out on this night! We make it easy by getting personalized shirts to wear. It’s totally optional, but really fun to do as a big family or group!