Preschooler Favorites on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

by Shannon

Our family absolutely loves spending time together at Walt Disney World. The only thing my kids love more than a Walt Disney World Vacation? A Disney Cruise! Disney Cruises are so much fun for the entire family; but kids especially really feel the magic on a Disney Cruise.

My daughter was 4 on our most recent cruise (unfortunately COVID cancelled our cruise plans at age 5 but we’re so excited to cruise on the brand new Disney Wish next year!). While there are endless opportunities for your preschooler to have fun on a Disney Cruise, these are the things my daughter asked to do again and again and really stuck with her as core cruise memories even over a year later.

Fun Things to do on the Disney Dream with Young Children

Midship Detective Agency

The Midship Detective Agency is a self-guided scavenger hunt around the ship where you help Mickey and his pals solve mysteries! My daughter was OBSESSED with this!! There are a few different mysteries to choose from that feature characters from the Muppets, 101 Dalmations, and Mickey and friends.

The technology here was a lot of fun and I truly enjoyed adventuring all over the ship with my preschooler to find the next clue. It’s a great way to get your bearings and figure out where things are on the ship.

Don’t skip this! Especially if you have a day at sea!

Character Meet and Greets

If your preschooler loves meeting characters, they’ll be SO excited for all of the character opportunities on the Disney Dream and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay! You can meet the classics like Mickey and Minnie, the Princesses, Disney Junior favorites, and even some more rare characters as well! On our last cruise we bumped into Peter Pan in the hallway and that was a true highlight!

There will be plenty of scheduled character meet and greets onboard and on the island. Take a look at the scheduled times either in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app once you’re onboard or a printed copy of the Navigator.

I like using the app because it allows you to *Favorite* certain activities on the schedule and then sends you a notification when that activity is getting ready to begin!

Pools & Slide

As long as your preschooler is potty trained, they can enjoy the pools and slides onboard! If they need to wear a swim diaper, they’ll be limited to the splash zones.

The Disney Dream has two slides available.

The first is Mickey’s Pool Slide. This slide is suitable for ages 4 and up. Children must be between 38″ and 64″ to use this slide. My daughter LOVED this one and slid down over and over and over again whenever we were enjoying the pool deck.

The second slide is the AquaDuck. This slide has a minimum height requirement of 42″. Little ones that meet the height requirement will ride down the slide with an adult in a two-seater tube. This one is definitely more thrilling than Mickey’s Pool Slide (and will typically have a longer wait time to ride as well).

There are also multiple pools aboard the ship for your little ones to enjoy.

Scheduled Onboard Activities

In addition to the scheduled character meet-and-greets, each day of your cruise there will be scheduled activities, entertainment, and more!

My daughter absolutely loved participating in things like gingerbread cookie decorating or create-your-own holiday cards on our Very Merrytime Cruise, Disney Animation drawing presentations, arts and crafts, and scavenger hunts in the Oceaneer Club!

Make sure you check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App to see which activities your preschooler would enjoy!

Nightly Shows

Each night of your cruise you’ll have the opportunity to watch really wonderful, Broadway-caliber productions in the Walt Disney Theatre. Both my preschooler and myself looked forward to the performances each night!

The Disney Dream features 3 shows:

  • The Golden Mickeys
  • Disney’s Believe
  • Beauty and the Beast (this one is OUR FAVORITE!!)

It was so much fun to get to the theatre early for a nice seat, get a popcorn refill in our fun bucket, and enjoy the show before dinner.

If you think your young kiddos will enjoy the shows with you, it may be worth booking the Second Seating for dinner so that you can enjoy the early showtime before they’re tired.

Movie Theatre + Popcorn

As if the Live shows in the Walt Disney Theatre weren’t enough, there’s also another theatre onboard for movies! Buena Vista Theatre is the spot for watching your favorite classic Disney films as well as whatever feature films are currently in theaters!

Themed cruises often also feature movies that fit that theme!

Concessions are available for purchase but you can also bring your own snacks and drinks into the theatre.

I recommend bringing your own refillable cup or bottle onboard the ship so that you can fill-up at Cabanas and carry around with you.

Mini Golf

On Goofy’s Sports Deck (deck 13) of the Disney Dream you’ll find a fully themed mini golf course!

This mini golf course stars Goofy and his son Max and features 9 fun holes to conquer. Don’t skip this one; it’s easy to miss!

Oceaneer Club

The Oceaneer Club is so much fun for preschoolers. This club is kids-only and includes free-play areas, group activities, arts and crafts, character visits, and more! Grown-ups can drop their potty-trained preschooler at the Oceaneer Club to then enjoy some adult time.

Fish Extender

Participating in the Fish Extender gift exchange is completely voluntary and something that you sign-up for ahead of your cruise via your specific sailing’s Facebook page. This gift exchange is not hosted by Disney Cruise Line; rather, guests aboard the ship opt-in to this super fun activity.

My kid’s truly enjoyed all aspects of the Fish Extender gift exchange on our cruise! We had fun preparing the gifts before we sailed (we did pirates and mermaid themed gifts last cruise!), receiving fun little gifts on our cruise as well as delivering to our assigned staterooms as well!

Definitely consider participating if you’d like to receive and sprinkle your own pixie dust while onboard.

I hope these Disney Dream preschooler favorites are helpful if you’re planning on a Disney Cruise!

Follow along on all of our Walt Disney World fun on Instagram @brbgoingtodisney! I share tips and tricks LIVE from the parks each week on Stories! See you there!

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

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2 comments

Sarah June 9, 2021 - 10:10 pm

We were supposed to Cruise last year too. Hoping to rebook in 2022 or 2023.

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Megan June 10, 2021 - 1:01 pm

Thanks for all the great info on the kids’ activities!! We haven’t done a cruise yet but would love to eventually! Do you know if adults are allowed to stay with their kids to explore the kids club? I am not comfortable leaving my kids with non family members yet but would love for them to still be able to explore the area. Thanks for all your helpful tips and info!!

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