In less than 24 hours I’ll be on board the Disney Dream for a weekend sailing, and I’m busily packing for the trip. In addition to your regular luggage, you’ll want to pack a day bag when you sail on the Dream or any of the other Disney ships. Your main luggage is transferred to the ship if you fly in or taken by a porter if you drive to Port Canaveral, and you don’t see it again until it’s delivered to your stateroom in the evening. However, you’ll need a carry-on bag for your essentials. What should you put in your day bag? Here are my top five essentials:
- Swimwear. While you’re waiting for your stateroom to be ready, why not go for a swim or a ride on the Aquaduck? They won’t be too crowded on embarkation day, and it’s a great way to kill time after lunch. Bring swimwear in your day bag so the kids (and adults) in your party can check out the pools, hot tubs, and water ride and start the fun right away. Don’t worry about bringing towels, as Disney Cruise Line provides those.
- Sunscreen. You don’t want to get burned to a crisp right at the start of your vacation, so carry some sunscreen too. That way, you don’t have to worry about the sun when you do your early swimming.
- ID/cruise documents. Of course, you won’t get to indulge in that early fun if you can’t board the ship! Make sure you have your ID and all of your cruise documents in your day bag, not your luggage. Otherwise you’ll get an unpleasant surprise at check-in time.
- Cell phone/camera. You’ll want to start documenting your cruise as soon as your arrive at the terminal, or at least as soon as you board the ship. Have your cell phone or a dedicated camera at the ready. The photo ops start with characters in the terminal and continue throughout boarding day. The time between boarding and the safety drill is the only time I’ve even gotten candid shots of characters walking around the ship. You’ll miss those spontaneous ops if you’re not prepared.
- Medication. If you have medication, make sure it’s in your day bag rather than your regular luggage. While the chance of your luggage getting lost is very small (it’s never happened to me in 87 Disney cruises), it still exists. It’s better to have your meds with you so you know you’ll have them when they’re needed.
Remember, don’t make your day bag too big, as you have to carry it around with you until your stateroom is ready at 1:30 p.m.
Of course, the amount of time you have before the safety drill depends on when you board the ship. Jump to this article to see the pros and cons of boarding early vs. late.