What Is the Best Age for a Disney Cruise?

Are you going on a Disney cruise soon? You might want to consider leaving the little ones at home! No, we’re not heartless monsters — there are just some ages that are generally better than others when it comes to cruising with Mickey and his pals (although note that every Disney cruise ship has spaces just for babies, kids, tweens, and teens on board).

Set Sail with Disney Pals!

So who would really enjoy a Disney cruise, and when should you decide to wait a couple more years or leave the kiddos with grandma and grandpa? We’ve got all the information you’ll need to make the best decision.

Of course, the best choice for your group will depend on the personalities and preferences of your kiddos. But you should also consider what activities are available to them on board the cruise ships and where kids of certain ages are NOT allowed to go. Based on our experiences from years of cruising with Disney, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of taking kids of all ages on Disney cruise ships.

6 Months to 3 Years Old


When you see videos of babies meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time and being completely delighted with the experience, it’s hard to resist immediately booking a Disney trip for your own littles. And there are some pros to bringing your babies on a Disney cruise! For example, you can meet lots of characters with much shorter waits than you’ll see in the Disney parks.

Captain Mickey

In Magic Kingdom, the Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet often has a wait time of 45 minutes or more, but the line to meet Mickey on a cruise ship is almost always MUCH shorter. And there are usually plenty of other meet-and-greets close by, including Minnie, Disney princesses, and other characters.

Belle aboard the Disney Wish!

You might be nervous about the idea of having your baby with you 24/7 on a cruise ship, but don’t forget that they can go to the “it’s a small world” nursery for a few hours to give you a bit of “me” time.

Nursery on the Disney Wish

Although many excursions and port adventures have a minimum age requirement of at least 3 years old, there are still a few experiences that are open to kids of all ages, such as museum tours and some speedboat trips. And a trip to the beach to enjoy the sand and water is often more than enough to entertain the littles!

Castaway Cay

If you’re dying to take the babies on a Disney vacation to get that coveted picture with Mickey, a cruise might be the easier option compared to a Disney park. Whereas Disney parks often require hours of walking out in the heat, a cruise offers more flexibility and potentially a much more relaxing experience. You can enjoy the activities on board, always knowing your stateroom is just an elevator ride away (and not miles away like in Disney World) just in case you should need to run back for a nap or to collect a forgotten item.

Disney Dream stateroom

It’s easy for little kids to get overstimulated and exhausted in Disney World with so much going on around them, but a cruise can have a much slower pace to accommodate their preferred schedules.


As fun as it is to see your littles meet Mickey, there are a few warnings we have to give before you start to pack their suitcases. First, most port adventures have a minimum age requirement of at least 3 years old. If you were planning to go snorkeling, rent bikes, or swim with the dolphins, your baby won’t be allowed to come along.

Castaway Cay

You also can’t bring the littles into adults-only areas, such as certain fancy restaurants on board or the adults-only swimming pool and deck.

Adult only pool

The “it’s a small world” nursery offers babysitting for these little ones, but you’ll have to pay by the hour and reservations at the nursery do run out quickly. Space in the nursery is very limited, so you’ll want to book your child’s stay as soon as possible. Here’s a schedule of when you can book reservations, which depends on your Castaway Club status:

  • Up to 120 days ahead for Concierge and Platinum Castaway Club Guests
  • Up to 105 days ahead for Gold Castaway Club Guests
  • Up to 90 days ahead for Silver Castaway Club Guests
  • Up to 75 days ahead for all other Guests

Disney notes that “reservations can also be made on a first-come, first-served basis during the open house on Embarkation Day or anytime throughout your cruise.” The nursery costs $4.50 per half-hour for the first child and an additional $4 per half-hour for any additional children in your family.

It’s a Small World Nursery

Also, remember that swim diapers are not permitted in any Disney cruise ship pools. There are splash areas on each ship where kids in swim diapers can play instead. Some pools and water attractions have height and age requirements. Here’s a full list of those restrictions:

  • AquaDuck (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) – height 42 inches or taller
  • AquaDunk (Disney Magic) – height 48 inches or taller
  • AquaLab (Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic) – ages 3 and older
  • Donald’s Pool / Goofy’s Pool (all ships) – adults and children ages 3 and older
  • Mickey’s Pool (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder) – ages 3 and older
  • Whirlpool Spa tubs (all ships) – adult supervision required for Guests under age 16
  • Mickey’s Slide – ages 4 to 14; height at least 38 and no more than 64 inches tall
  • Nephews’ Splash Zone / Dory’s Reef / Nemo’s Reef (all ships) – ages 3 and younger (swim diapers required)
  • Quiet Cove Pool – ages 18 and older only
  • Twist ‘n’ Spout Slide (Disney Magic and Disney Wonder) – height at least 38 inches or taller

Toy Story Splash Zone

In addition, having a little one with a strict nap schedule might make it harder for the adults and older kids to do all the activities they want to do on board. And don’t forget that most of the rooms on board Disney’s cruise ships (and all cruise ships, for that matter) are smaller than your average hotel room, which means tight spaces with little ones.

3 to 10 Years Old


Lots of the same pros of bringing a baby on board a Disney cruise ship also apply to 3- to 10-year-olds. You can meet characters with shorter wait times, the trip will likely be more relaxing than a Disney parks vacation, and it’s not hard to entertain them with just a visit to the beach.


In addition, some of these kids might be old enough and tall enough to ride on the water slides, and, as long as they’re potty-trained, they can swim in the pools on board.

Pool and a movie!

There are a lot of activities for the kids to participate in at the Oceaneer Club. There’s an Oceaneer Club on every ship, and each has different themed lands, such as a Star Wars area, a Marvel superhero area, a pirates area, and a princess area. (The themes may be different on the different Disney cruise ships.)

Oceaneer Club

The Oceaneer Club is free, and parents are allowed to drop off the kids and go do their own thing while the little ones hang out there.

Star Wars Cargo Bay in the Oceaneer Club

In addition, kids this age may be old enough to skip nap time, which means they’ll have more time to enjoy the ship and their schedules won’t interrupt the rest of the family’s plans.


Just like the babies, the little ones aren’t allowed in adult-only areas on board the ship. If you wanted to enjoy those spots, you’d need to do so while your child was being taken care of by another member of your group or while they were playing at the Oceaneer Club.

Adult-only beach

Also, there are some port adventures that kids this age are not able to go on, such as some Segway tours and certain animal encounters (like swimming with the stingrays, which is only for ages 10 and up).

11 to 14 Years Old


Kids ages 11 to 14 years old are able to enjoy the ship’s character meet-and-greets, pools, and (as long as they meet the height requirements) water slides and attractions.

The AquaMouse

They can also visit Edge, which is a tween hangout space on board each Disney cruise ship. This space has a dance floor, a lounge area, and “the latest high-tech music, video, and gaming systems.” There’s also karaoke, scavenger hunts, themed nights, and other events. Kids this age would likely think it was cool to be able to have some independence on vacation (parents don’t need to check them in or out of the club) and hang out with other kids their own age without their parents around.


At this age, they’re able to participate in most port adventures and excursions. Plus, kids ages 13 and up can enjoy the Chill Spa, which is a spa just for teens on the Disney Dream, Fantasy, and Magic.


At 11 to 14 years old, some kids are still into the “Disney Magic,” and others may be less interested in Mickey, superheroes, and princesses. A cruise offers options for both Disney-related activities and normal vacation activities, so the kiddos might be more interested in it than in a Disney Parks visit.


At ages 11 to 14 years old, the kids can’t go into adult-only areas, and they also can’t visit the Oceaneer Club. However, they do have the Edge Club, which provides lots of fun activities.

Disney Cruise Edge

We know how much tweens and teens value their phones, so the limited phone service on board may cause a problem if your kiddos need their social media fix. In a pinch, you can always pay for the onboard internet service, but that can add quite a bit to the bill for your vacation.

14 to 17 Years Old


We think that kids ages 14 to 17 would really enjoy a Disney cruise. The main reason is that they can head over to Vibe — the club for teens ages 14 to 17 with music, movies, video games and more — to hang out with other kids their age and get away from the parents. They can enjoy their independence and the parents can rest easy knowing that a Disney cruise ship is a relatively safe environment for the kids to be on their own.


When you might not let the kids go out on their own in an unfamiliar city or even in the Disney theme parks, it seems much safer for them to be away with friends on a Disney cruise ship.

How cool is this deck?

In addition, kids ages 14 to 17 years old can do almost every excursion at the ports. They can also go to the Chill Spa on the Disney Dream, Fantasy, and Magic for a relaxing spa day.


The cons for taking kids ages 14 to 17 years old on a Disney cruise ship are similar to those for kids ages 11 to 14. They’re still not able to go into the adult-only pool areas or restaurants, although they have their own spaces to enjoy and the parents can enjoy the adult-only spots while the kids chill at Vibe.

Adult-only area

Also, any teens who can’t live without their phone might have trouble with the limited service onboard a Disney cruise ship. Onboard internet service is available at an extra cost, so you may need to factor that into the budget.

In addition, some teens might think they’re way too cool for Disney, so they might not be super excited about the “magical” elements on board. That really depends on the individual kid, though!

18+ Years Old


So what about bringing your adult kids on a Disney cruise? Finally those kids are old enough to enjoy the adult-only areas on board with you, such as the Palo and Remy restaurants and the adult spa.

Palo Steakhouse

Although a Disney cruise might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it can certainly make those older kids feel like a little kid again. And being able to get your photo with Mickey and indulge in free ice cream cones all day but still relax at the adult-only pool and book a massage at the Senses Spa sounds like the best of both worlds


Your adult kids might want their own space more so than the younger ones, which is tough in those small staterooms. And if they’re not big fans of Disney, it’s possible that they’ll think they’re too old for a Disney cruise (hopefully they’ll learn better soon).

Final thoughts

There’s something for everyone on a Disney cruise, but it might not be a super chill trip if you bring young kids on board with you. There are some places where they can go to give you “me” time, but cruising with older kids only might be the way to go if you want a truly relaxing experience. However, a Disney cruise might be easier for the littles than a visit to the Disney theme parks, as it’s less exhausting for them but still has Disney magic!

The Disney Wish

The sweet spot for taking kids on a Disney cruise might be ages 14 to 17. They get all the independence of going out on their own with friends while still being in a safe environment. They can enjoy almost all of the port excursions and activities on board, excluding the adult-only areas.

Disney Magic

However, the best option will ultimately depend on your group and your specific kids, so talk with them to see how they’d feel about sailing with Mickey. You can explain what they will and won’t be able to do and let them be part of the decisioin (provided they’re old enough, of course. Probably the 6-month-olds won’t contribute much to the planning process).

Want to learn more about Disney cruises? Check out these posts!

Keep following DFB for more updates on all the latest Disney Cruise Line news.

What’s the BEST age to take your kids to Disney World? Find out here.

What You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line

Join the DFB Newsletter To Get All the Latest Disney News Delivered Right to Your Inbox Click here to Subscribe

What age do you think is best for a Disney cruise? Let us know in the comments!

The post What Is the Best Age for a Disney Cruise? first appeared on the disney food blog.

source https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2023/02/21/what-is-the-best-age-for-a-disney-cruise/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.