Want to know how to make sure you do not spend too much money on board a Disney cruise? Looking for ways to make sure that your Disney cruise dollars really stretch as far as they can?
There really is no need to spend any extra dollars whilst onboard a Disney ship. However, there are certainly many ways that you can do so.
Onboard charges on a Disney cruise can add up. When that final bill arrives on the last day of your cruise it can come as a bit of a shock.
Save Money on a Disney Cruise
However, there is a lot that you can do to prevent charges from building up. Many things are included on a Disney cruise.
You just have to know where savings can be made. We have often sailed on a Disney cruise and spent very little over and above the basic cost of the cruise. Here is how you can do it too:
Set Expectations for the Whole Family
It is tempting to spend money on a Disney cruise. Many things are included, but there are plenty of things to tempt you to spend on a Disney cruise.
It is always helpful if you set a budget and are determined to stick to it.
Give children a budget and make sure that they stick to it too.
One thing that some people do is pre-buy Disney gifts and take them onto the cruise with them.
This can save a lot of money if you buy things on land from your local store.
Don’t give your children charging privileges on your Key To The World unless you know that they will use them wisely.
To motivate yourself to save you can say you will put some of your budget towards your next Disney cruise. You will be able to save up more quickly if you have spent less onboard the Disney ship.
If you want to learn more about how to save money whilst booking a Disney cruise here is our guide:
Disconnect From Reality
Part of the appeal for many people on a Disney cruise is that you really can escape the stresses of everyday life. I know that it is sometimes difficult to disconnect and leave your phone alone.
However, why not give it a try for a few days?
Not only will this help you unwind. It will also save you a lot of money.
One of the most expensive things on board any cruise ship is an internet connection.
Connections also tend to be very slow.
The service onboard a Disney cruise is called Connect@Sea.
Disney Cruise Line now offers 3 different internet packages.
Stay Connected, Basic Surf, and Premium Surf.
Think carefully about which package you need, or even if you can switch off for at least part of the cruise.
We recommend trying to avoid these charges by limiting your access to Wi-Fi and also using free wifi onshore.
Ask a Crew Member and they will be able to tell you where all the free Wi-Fi spots in port are.
Be sure to turn on airplane mode as soon as the ship sets sail.
This can prevent unwanted charges from your cell phone provider for incoming calls and texts as well as data usage.
Bring Your Own Bottle
You can sail on a Disney cruise without spending any extra money on drinks. Soda is included in the restaurants and is available 24/7 from the drinks station on the pool deck.
However, it is very tempting to spend extra money on drinks.
Many people ask Is There a Disney Cruise Drinks Package?
Disney has not followed the lead of many cruise lines and offered a paid all-inclusive drinks package.
We think that this is good news.
They already offer free soda – something which other cruise lines charge around $10 a day for.
Also, they don’t offer an all-inclusive alcoholic drinks package.
Again, we hope they never do as to us this just seems to encourage excessive drinking.
Disney cruise lines are definitely very much a family-orientated cruise line.
So how do you save money on drinks if you would like a glass of wine or two?
Disney has one of the most generous take-your-own-wine or beer policies at sea.
Guests 21 and older can take limited supplies of alcohol on a Disney ship. Or if you are sailing from Australia and New Zealand the age is 18 and older.
Disney Cruise Line adult guests may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port-of-call.
Always pack all alcohol in your carry-on luggage.
Any found in packed luggage, and yes they do check, will be held for you until you disembark.
Another way to save is with the Disney Cruise Wine Package.
This offers discounts on full bottles of wine if you buy at least 3 bottles.
Buy The Disney Cruise Drink Specials
If you enjoy a cocktail or a mocktail there is always a Drink of the Day special.
The cost of the Drink of the Day on a Disney Cruise in 2023 is $5.25.
An 18% auto gratuity is added to this so the total is $6.20.
You will be tempted by the Disney cruise souvenir glass which you will see on the trays that the bartenders carry around.
They are nice souvenirs to have, but of course, they cost extra.
Disney cruise lines offer some amazing excursions.
However, the cost can add up to a considerable amount.
Choose your excursions carefully.
Remember that not all members of the family may want to do the same thing.
We are always cautious about recommending that you book your cruise excursions with another company. If you book through Disney you know that the providers have been approved by them.
Also if you book a Disney Cruise Adventure you have the reassurance that even if you are late back to the ship it will not sail without you.
Unfortunately, if you are with another company or out on your own and don’t make it back, you may see the ship sail without you.
Believe us, we have seen it happen.
Also, consider not taking a paid excursion. Some ports are very easy to walk around or to use public transport to get to the sights. Make sure that you research each port before you sail.
You also may just want to stay onboard the Disney ship when it is in port.
You will certainly see the ship at its quietest and can enjoy some popular attractions such as the Disney Fantasy Aquaduck
Book One Day in the Disney Cruise Rainforest Room
Our readers will know that we highly recommend that adults spend some time in the Disney Cruise Rainforest Room.
We think that this is an excellent experience, particularly if you want to enjoy some peaceful, adult-only time.
You can buy a length of cruise pass, but these are also on the expensive side as you are paying for all the days you are on a cruise.
We think that the smart thing to do if you want to save some money, but still want to experience the Rainforest, is to buy a Day Pass.
Day Passes aren’t always sold, but if you get the chance then you really should think about getting one.
The price varies according to which sailing you are on.
This varies but right now it seems that Day Passes are only available to purchase on the ship – and may not be available at all.
Go straight to the Spa as soon as you board, to see if this is an option for your cruise.
Look Out For Disney Cruise Spa Specials
A visit to the spa can be a highlight of your Disney Cruise.
It can also be one of the most expensive.
Remember too, that as well as the basic price, an 18% gratuity will automatically be added to the cost.
If you are prepared to wait until you get onboard to book, you will most likely see some great discounts.
The best discounts are usually offered on port days.
Obviously, there are fewer people on the ship, so more spaces at the spa are available.
Disney cruises will often offer packages of bundles of treatments which will save you money.
You Do Not Need To Spend Anything On Disney’s Castaway Cay
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Most Disney cruisers say that a trip to Castaway Cay is the highlight of their cruise. This exclusive Disney private island really is paradise.
You can spend the day here without spending anything extra. Food and soda are included. You can enjoy the day on the beach and in the water.
Of course, there are plenty of things to tempt you to spend extra money.
You can choose from a list of Disney Castaway Cay Activities ranging from the very popular Stingray Adventure to Parasailing, to a Fishing excursion.
One thing that is very popular is snorkeling on Castaway Cay.
You can rent equipment for $34 for adults and $18 for ages 5 to 9.
This is the price for an all-day snorkel rental. It includes a snorkel, mask, fins, and snorkel vest.
However, you can save money if you bring your own.
One of the wonderful things about a Disney cruise is the entertainment. The Broadway-quality shows and the Disney movies really set Disney apart from other cruise lines.
Walk Past the Concession Stand
However, you will find something very tempting every time you walk towards Walt Disney or the Buena Vista Theatre. Popcorn.
Even though there is a seemingly endless supply of food all day every day onboard a Disney cruise, you will still find yourself tempted by the popcorn.
However, you will probably not be quite so impressed when you see the bill for your snacks at the end of your cruise.
Make sure that your kids know that you will not be giving in on this! It is perfectly fine to take your own drinks inside the theaters.
Go to the pool deck and stock up on soda if you want to.
If you plan ahead this will save you money and stop you from being tempted to spend money on impulse.
Check Your Disney Cruise Account
As in any situation, mistakes can be made.
Disney cruise lines are very efficient.
However, you should always check your receipt at the time of purchase.
You should also go through your account charges on the last night of your cruise at least.
Ideally, you should check them every day as discrepancies can easily be taken care of before you disembark your Disney Cruise.
Disney has a set system of gratuities.
Your restaurant servers and cabin steward each get a set amount which will be added to your cruise account.
You can make adjustments to this.
A lot of guests are confused about the way that gratuities are added to their accounts.
We wrote the Disney Cruise Tips Guide to explain everything.
What some guests do not realize is that an automatic gratuity will be added to any drinks that you purchase in bars or restaurants.
This will be charged at 15%.
The spa also automatically adds an 18% gratuity – this includes the Rainforest length of cruise pass.
You can, of course, adjust the amount of the tip either up or down.
Just be careful that you realize that it is already added so that you don’t add another 15% on top of the included gratuity!
Bring Your Own Water Bottle
This is such a simple thing, but it really will save you money on a Disney cruise.
Disney Cruise Bottle Water is available.
Compared to some other cruise lines the Disney Cruise bottles of water are actually reasonably priced.
A 6-pack of bottled water costs $15 and a 24-pack is $60.
This does not include tax and gratuity.
You can bring as much water onboard a Disney cruise as you can carry in your day luggage.
You cannot check it in with your luggage.
You can save even more money if you are willing to drink the onboard Disney cruise water.
It is perfectly safe to drink and is available 24/7 from the pool deck.
You can also get as much ice as you need.
These Insulated Water Bottlesare available in various sizes and colors. They are great for cold and hot drinks.
Do you have any Disney Cruise money-saving ideas?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.