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You Won’t Find These 9 Things on a Disney Cruise

If you’re considering a Disney cruise you’ve probably heard about a lot of things that are “included” in the premium cost. 

But there are some things that you simply won’t find on Disney Cruise Line (DCL) at the moment. 

We’re going to highlight nine things you will not find on a Disney Cruise, but that you might expect to find on other cruise lines.

Emma Disney Magic Funnel

1. Drinks Packages

Disney cruises don’t offer the traditional drinks packages you might find on other cruise lines. 

Disney cruises do include soft drinks and there are various offers – such as the ‘drink of the day.’

Drinks are a slightly higher price than you’d expect to pay on land – that is the case on most cruise lines.

Drinks are on a par with what other cruise lines charge – and less expensive than some.

An 18% service charge will be added on top of the price of your drink – the same as with many other American cruise lines.

Find out more about drinks packages on cruise ships here:

How Much Do Drinks Cost on Cruise Ships? Menus and Comparisons

Take Advantage of the “Drink Of The Day”

You can take advantage of drink specials like the “drink of the day” (usually something fruity and tropical) or Beer Buckets. 

Beer Mugs

Disney also offers a special beer mug deal.  For around $16.50 you get a 22 oz. beer mug, which Disney will then fill for the same price as a 16 oz. beer. 

You don’t have to carry the mug around everywhere.  When you’re done, simply exchange it for a mug “token” and the next time you want a beer you can trade the token in for a fresh mug. 

At the end of the cruise, you can either walk off with the mug or the token.  Simply bring back either on your next cruise and you can keep the deal going.  No need to purchase a new mug everytime.

This one-time purchase of the souvenir beer mug allows you to receive a hearty 21 ounce pour (about 1.3 pints) of a variety of draught beer for the same price of a non-souvenir 16 ounce pour (one pint) throughout your cruise

Disney Cruise Line

Some Soft Drinks are Free

Disney does not charge for all soft drinks onboard. 

Soft drinks are included at meals, and there is a self-service soft drink machine on the pool deck if you want to grab a drink during the day. 

Disney does charge for soft drinks if ordered at one of the onboard bars or lounges, and at the onboard theatres.

Drinking Coke on Arvia
Enjoying my drinks package, onboard P&O’s Arvia. There are no “Soda Packages” on Disney Cruise Line

If you’re a coffee drinker, make sure to get a “punch card” from the Cove Café.  If you buy 5 speciality coffees, your sixth one is free. 

If you have a partially filled punch card at the end of your cruise, bring it on your next cruise and continue to use it.

Disney Magic Promenade Deck

2 Onboard Casinos

Disney Cruise Line does not have casinos onboard their ships. 

For some, that’s a real dealbreaker – a reason not to cruise with Disney at all.

No casino means no indoor smoking – which personally, I like.

Find out more about gambling on cruise ships in the post below:

Can You Gamble on a Cruise at 18? Cruise Line Gambling Guide

3. You Won’t Find Brand Name Restaurants and Celebrity Chefs

Disney was a pioneer in “Rotational” dining, where you and your serving team rotate between one of three main restaurants nightly. 

Depending on which ship you’re on, Disney also offers one or two adult-only onboard dining experiences for an extra charge – Paleo and Remy. 

But, if you’re looking for Johnny Rockets or an impressive line-up of celebrity chef dining, you won’t find it.

Paleo and Remy offer great dining experiences and may be worth the additional fee to you.

Remy is essentially a 3 Michelin-starred experience at sea (Michelin doesn’t rate cruise line restaurants.)

marco pierre white cookery class club p&o britannia
Photo by Christopher Ison – I cooked with Celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White on board P&Os Britannia

4. No Go Karts, Wave Riders, Skydiving or Rock-Climbing Walls

Disney has, for the most part, not followed suit with the other cruise lines in terms of Wave Riders, Rock-Climbing walls, Ropes Courses, Escape Rooms at sea, Go-Kart tracks, etc. 

Disney’s ships are smaller than some others, and these kinds of facilities take up lots of room. 

I tried out a cruise ship Go Kart Track and a drop slide onboard Norwegian Prima. See how I got on here:

Disney has also made space on its pool deck for multiple pools and adult-only areas, leaving little space for these kinds of activities. So, if you’re seeking onboard thrills, you might be a little disappointed.

Which Waterslides Are on Disney Cruise Ships?

Disney does offer plenty of fun onboard.  Each of the ships does have an onboard water slide. 

The Dream and Fantasy feature the “Aqua Duck,” a water “ride” themed after Donald Duck and his nephews that takes you all around the top deck of the ship. 

Onboard the Disney Magic you’ll find the “Aqua Dunk” which is a thrill slide of the “drop” variety. 

Disney Wish has “AquaMouse” a first-of-its-kind water coaster that delivers lots of family fun.

Aquamouse has 760 feet of tubes winding around the ship’s top deck, with “over 60 water features, special lighting effects, an entertaining cinematic show, and spectacular ocean views.”

disney treasure
Disney Treasure – Image Disney Cruise Line

5. Busy Nightlife

If you like dancing away until the small hours of the morning is your thing, a Disney cruise isn’t for you! 

If you’re looking for a lot of live music at night, Disney may not impress you either...

Disney does have adult areas of the ship with several themed bars and some live music, but this is not an all-night dance scene with a rowdy crowd. 

You can hear some talented singing and piano players, see adult acts, and dance to DJ music, but you should expect adult activities to wind down earlier than you might find on other lines. 

In general, the adult areas are fun, low key and relaxed.  So, if you like a slower pace to your nightlife, you’ll find it in the many lounges and bars onboard Disney’s ships.

Disney Sail Away Party
A daytime sailaway party onboard Disney Cruise Lines

A cruise I took that had lots of late-night parties was onboard the Costa Smeralda. Costa is an Italian cruise line, and guests dined and partied far later than I had expected.

The White Night Party began on Costa as I would normally go to bed, and was full of families and children dancing and partying until the early hours!

Find out all about that memorable cruise here:

6. Disney Cruise Sale Prices

Demand for Disney cruises consistently outpaces supply. 

Opening-day prices for most itineraries are the best you’ll do when it comes to price.  From there, prices generally only go up. 

If you like to cruise on a budget, don’t bother looking at Disney cruises at all!  

There are some exceptions with special rates for Military Personnel, as well as Florida, Canada, UK and EU residents (on occasion). 

But if you’re a bargain hunter, your best bet is to book early and understand that Disney is generally seen as a more premium line that charges premium prices.

Guests generally believe the premium is justified for Disney’s service level – but it’s certainly not for everyone.

British Money

Disney enthusiasts who are used to paying a premium on other Disney holidays don’t seem to think the cruise prices are too high. They are happy to pay them.

To learn more about how to save money on a Disney cruise, including how to use gift cards to reduce your spending, check out this post:

Cut The Cost of Your Disney Cruise – 6 Budget Booking Tips

7. Dress Codes

Because Disney caters to families, you won’t find a lot of enforced dress codes. 

There are generally semi-formal and formal nights onboard, depending on the length of your sailing, but they are largely optional. 

If you and your family want to get dressed up for those special pictures, great! But, don’t expect everybody else to be dressed up.

Formal Night on the Worlds Lst Ocean Liner - Cunards Queen Mary 2
Formal Night on the Worlds Last Ocean Liner – Cunards Queen Mary 2

Tuxedos are largely unheard of on formal nights.  You may find the family next to you are still wearing Disney t-shirts on “Formal Night” – while you’ve dressed up.  It’s the nature of Disney cruising.

The exceptions to the casual dress code requirement are in adult speciality restaurants. 

Both Paleo and Remy do enforce a dress code for both brunch and dinner seatings. 

For Paleo, that will generally mean trousers or jeans (nothing ripped or with holes) and a collared shirt. 

Remy requires gentlemen to wear trousers, a jacket and a collared shirt. Jackets are optional for brunch or desserts.

The speciality restaurants give ample reminders of their dress code, and you will be turned away if you are not dressed appropriately. 

disney dress code

8. You Won’t Find “Non-Disney” Merchandise On Sale

You can expect to find a lot of expensive Disney-themed merchandise in the Disney cruise shop. 

Disney does not make most of its cruise line merchandise available for sale elsewhere. 

That means lots of Disney collectables like T-shirts, badges, ship models and statuettes. 

If you want a Disney collectable, buy it early, as they do sell out. Most items are not available for purchase anywhere outside the ship – unless you’re willing to pay a premium for it on eBay.

If you like the ability to shop for a lot of name-brand merchandise, you’ll need to save your shopping for the ports. 

Disney does offer brands like Dooney & Bourke (primarily Disney-themed purses), luxury watches, figurines and jewellery, but these are going to be premium brands with premium prices, and if there’s a Disney tie-in or theme, expect that to be the onboard offering. 

Disney is the first and only cruise line to feature Tiffany’s at Sea, so if you’re looking for jewellery you can buy it onboard.

Tiffany’s sells some special onboard jewellery pieces themed to Disney Cruise Line.  The same is true for art onboard.  If you’d like to pick up a display piece for home expect it to be Disney-themed.

9. Fast Internet

While some other cruise lines have really pushed forward with onboard Internet and technology offerings; this has been a place where Disney frequently lags and, in many cases, disappoints. 

But you should know what to expect – you’re not going to be video-calling friends or coworkers.

You may not even be able to check email reliably or make audio calls. If the safety net of potentially being able to connect is worth paying for the Premium Internet package, then factor that into the price of your cruise.

emerald Azzurra phone

Internet is not included on Disney cruises, but packages are available to purchase.

The internet package options are as follows:

  • “Stay Connected” offers access to select social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Pricing starts at $16 a day when purchased for the entire voyage length. Prices are subject to change at any time.  
  •  “Basic Surf” includes the “Stay Connected” offerings plus access to the web, email, and voice calling. Pricing starts at $24 a day when purchased for the length of your cruise. Prices are subject to change at any time.
  • “Premium Surf” includes all that is offered in the “Basic Surf” plus video on Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, video calling, and music streaming. Video streaming is not available with this package. Pricing starts at $34 a day when purchased for the entirety of your voyage. Prices are subject to change at any time. 

*Prices are taken from the Disney website December 2023.

You may be better off staying “offline” and skipping the expense and hassle completely!

Find out what I thought of my first-ever Disney Cruise here:

Before You Go

For more information about what Is included in a Disney cruise, check out this post next:

What’s Included On A Disney Cruise? – Food, Activities, Entertainment – And Things That Cost Extra

Find out everything I loved and everything I hated about my first Disney Cruise here:

My First Disney Cruise – Everything I Loved and Hated (Honest Photo Review

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.


Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.