10 Disney Cruise Line Secrets

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I’ve talked Disney cruise tips, Disney cruise myths, questions, etc. etc.  I even wrote about some Disney cruise secrets way back in 2013!  But this time, friends, we are delving deeper.  I have real secrets here!  Well okay, secrets is a strong word.  But “10 Not Well-Known Things About Disney Cruises” is kind of long.  I think I’ve got at least one thing here that will surprise even the most experienced of Disney cruisers.  I’m going to try at least!  Let’s see if you knew all of these.

1. Disney will Transfer Just Luggage from Disney Resorts – I have good news if you are trying to get from Walt Disney World to the port in a vehicle that won’t quite fit all of your luggage. Disney will transfer it for you! That’s right, you do not need to be on Disney transfers to take advantage of the luggage transfers.  For a cost of $25 for up to 6 bags, and $3 a bag after that, Disney will pick up your luggage in your WDW resort room on the morning of your cruise.  You won’t see it again until it appears in your stateroom later that day.  Call (or have your travel agent call) the cruise line directly the day before you sail to set it up.  It will be charged to your onboard account.  I sail with a large group of ladies every September and we love to take a huge limo to the port, but there is no limo that exists that will hold 24 ladies plus their luggage.  So we send 18 or so of our bags on the transfers while we travel in style.  Worth it.

2. Vanellope’s and Sweet On You Deliver to the Dining Rooms – Have you ever been in the too-much-food quandary on a cruise? We have! We desperately wanted to try a sundae from Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream, but we were always so full!  One night we decided to deliberately leave dinner before dessert was served to go try some.  The good news is that you don’t have to leave!  Both Vanellope’s on the Dream and Sweet on You on the Disney Fantasy will deliver to the main dining rooms.  Just stop inside the shop and let them know when you want it, pay for it of course, and stuff your face when it comes!

3. Mickey Pretzels Are Sometimes Available – The mythical Mickey Pretzels on a cruise do exist! They used to be a sure thing on longer cruises, but now it seems very random and totally dependent on the chefs onboard. When they do show up, Mickey shaped pretzels are usually served at one of the quick service restaurants on the pool deck.  We’ve had some luck asking at the beginning of the cruise if they’ll be served and which day.  If they aren’t sure, or don’t know what on earth you are talking about, just keep an eye out in the afternoons.  They are also available for purchase in O’Gills at times, but that’s not as fun as free!

4. There is Swag Sometimes – Sometimes! Who doesn’t love swag? While DVC Member cruises are famous for their swag, there are other opportunities.  If you are staying concierge, you will always get a gift of some kind in your room like a concierge print.  We’ve also been given other things in concierge like a Disney version of the game Life.  All categories will also usually receive swag of some kind on inaugural itineraries.  We’ve received some really neat special prints on the first British Isles cruise, as well as the first Greek Isles cruise.  Christmas and New Years Eve sailings have also had some cool swag.  If I was a betting woman, I’d bet on some great swag on the inaugural sailings of the three new ships.  Now please, please don’t book a sailing just for the swag or just because “Tammy said I would get something!”  I do not want to be on the inaugural sailing of the brand new Disney Adventure (my guess for a name) and be chased around by angry readers looking for their free stuff.  There are no guarantees, I’m just stating what has happened in the past and what will very likely happen again.

5. There are Cheap Mimosas and Bloody Marys – Woohoo! Cheap alcohol! That was me being a little sarcastic because as a non-drinker $5 for a drink sounds crazy not cheap.  But apparently it’s cheap, and some of you will be excited!  So I am here to help.  The bars near the adult pools often have $5 Mimosas and Bloody Marys in the mornings to get your day started.  You’re welcome.

6. There Are Some Drink Cards – There are some drink cards onboard that will save you some money. Cove Café has a frequent buyer card of sorts which will let you buy five, get one free. If you aren’t happy with the free coffee Disney provides and you desperately need your double skinny mocha half-soy non-fat organic foam latte every morning, pick up a card.  Skyline on the Fantasy and Dream offers a 7 drinks for the price of 6 Passport, although it only works in Skyline.  The cards and Passports are supposed to be used on your current cruise only.  Your mileage may vary.

7. There is Indian Food Available – Did you know you can go off menu in the main dining rooms and request Indian food? You can! Curry is readily available for the crew as it appeals to so many different nationalities, so it’s easy for them to serve it to the guests as well if they would like.  It’s best to let your servers know the first night that you may be interested, and they will see what they can do.

8. French Fries Are Appetizers – This is my personal favorite secret. This also perfectly describes my eating habits. I order French fries for an appetizer 9 times out of 10 in the main dining rooms.  No it’s not on the menu in the appetizer section, and your server may give you some good-natured ribbing, but yes it’s an option.  A very tasty one if I do say so myself!

9. There Are Free Shirley Temples in the Dining Rooms – Another little trick of the dining room is Shirley Temples. While I pay around $1.75 for a Shirley Temple in a bar, Shirley Temples are available and free in the dining rooms. Just ask your server!

10. Cast Members Err on the Side of Caution – Cast members are trained to give certain answers to certain situations, no matter what the reality may be. For instance, if you ask a cast member at the port what time boarding will begin, they will usually tell you around 1:00 pm.  That’s just not the case.  Boarding almost always begins between 11:30 and noon.  But Disney isn’t taking chances of angry passengers here.  Under promise, over deliver…just like Scotty’s never-actually-said approach on Star Trek (“I’m giving it all she’s got, Captain!”).  If the ship is delayed returning or clearing customs, boarding could actually begin that late.  It’s incredibly rare, but possible.  So that’s the stock answer they are giving you, just in case.  Another example is related to crowd control.  About 30 minutes after boarding begins, cast members highly encourage you to go upstairs to the buffet where there is lots of room and they can move guests through quickly.  They encourage you to bypass the sit down option of Enchanted Garden, Lumiere’s, or Tritons.  They’ll tell you it’s full, or that the wait is very long, when in fact, you may be seated immediately or wait only about 5 minutes.  We’ve been told we would probably wait ½ an hour when in reality we waited 3 minutes.  The cast members are doing what they need to do to keep passengers happy and make the ship run more efficiently.  I’m not mad!

What did I miss?  Do you have any good secrets?

Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation.

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Tammy Whiting

Tammy has been a lover of all things Disney for most of her life. There’s nowhere on this Earth she’d rather be than on a Disney cruise with her family. She’s an Air Force wife and proud mom of two wonderful children and one beautiful daughter-in-law . She fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2008 and became a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations. She now owns her own travel agency - Storybook Destinations. You can reach Tammy at Tammy@StorybookDestinations.com.

14 thoughts on “10 Disney Cruise Line Secrets

  • January 15, 2018 at 11:48 am
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    I’m surprised that pretzels have become rare. I had them several times per day in 2015.

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    • January 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm
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      They are definitely harder to find these days! Hopefully they will pick up!

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    • January 16, 2018 at 12:26 pm
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      I was on the Wonder in October of 2017 and was disappointed that I couldn’t get a pretzel since I had them often (and free) on the same ship to Hawaii in 2015. However, after checking around I found out they were still serving them in the sports bar ( forgot thr name)for about $10… still worth the charge!

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      • January 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm
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        Crown and Fin! The fact that they are selling them in Crown and Fin and O’Gills now, makes me a little worried that we will see less and less free ones. But I’m glad you thought it was worth it! 🙂

  • January 15, 2018 at 1:52 pm
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    I’m very excited about the Vanelope’s tip. I really want to order one of those ridiculous race car sundaes, but can’t imagine having room for one. But as dessert, I might be able to swing it.

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  • January 15, 2018 at 9:50 pm
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    There are also drink cards available for smoothies at the bar on the pool deck. If you buy 5 frozen drinks, you get one free.

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  • January 16, 2018 at 11:13 am
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    Great post! FYI, Scotty explicitly explained the underperform and overdeliver philosophy to LT LaForge in ST:TNG episode “Relics.”

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  • January 17, 2018 at 6:38 pm
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    You can get anything off of any of the three restaurants’ menus. I love French onion soup and get it every night it is offer in a dinning room.

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    • January 17, 2018 at 6:46 pm
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      Very true, Joann! Some nights all dining rooms are on the same menu, but when they aren’t you can definitely order from another dining room. 🙂

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  • January 20, 2018 at 5:26 pm
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    Is there a specific number to call about the bag transfer? We called the Disney Cruise Line number we found on the Cruise Line website on the transfers page and the lady acted like she had never heard of such a thing as luggage being transferred from a WDW resort to Port Canaveral for passengers who were not riding the Disney bus. We are very interested in this service but don’t know who else to call…

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    • January 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm
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      Hi Steve!
      I generally call the travel agent line, so I’m not a lot of help, but they should be able to help on the main cruise line number: 1-800-951-3532. They won’t be able to set it up until the day before. I’ve called early before and been instructed to call back. I also have definitely had some cast members who had never heard of it, so if you get one that doesn’t know, just politely request that they ask guest services, or call back.

      Reply

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