Disney Cruise Tips for Health, Allergies, Avoiding Toxicity and Helpful Hacks 🚢


Disney cruises are known for their luxury Jack, cleanliness, and fun! I went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise this past summer on the Disney Fantasy. I’m happy to report that it is fairly easy to avoid toxicity on that ship. The tips in this post are also applicable to most cruises in general.

This post contains many tips found no where else! I read so many tips and watched so many YouTube tips videos, and of course I didn’t expect them to cover toxicity, but aside from that I was shocked that none of them mentioned most of general tips I’m including.

Also see my “How I Stay Fit on a Cruise” post for tips on exercise and eating tips keeping your waistline in mind.

Another thing you can do on cruises is see if they have any free seminars on health topics. Here is one I attended:

This post may contain Amazon Associates affiliate links, that I may earn small amounts from if you click them. See the bottom of this page for more details. This doesn’t create bias because I’m not creating my recommendations based on a payment from specific products.

Toxic Items to Avoid on Cruises:

-The shampoo, soap, etc that is provided in the showers and bathrooms. It is fragranced and contains other toxic ingredients.

-Brass and bronze, which can contain lead which can rub off invisibly on hands. Luckily there isn’t a lot of this, though there was one Minnie Mouse statue in the atrium, and a few door handles (not the stateroom doors), and possibly trash cans. Sometimes these things can be other metals but made to look like brass or bronze. If you see anything that looks like brass or bronze, be on the safe side and simply don’t touch it.

-Sanitizing wipes are handed out at the entrance to dining rooms. These contain fragrance and other toxic ingredients, and also, sanitizing is never as good as hand washing. Instead of taking the wipes, we go to the bathroom and wash hands after ordering and before eating, with our own bottle of soap.

-Antique decor is a big lead risk because it used lead paint before it was regulated. It also is often flaking and creating lead dust, which is highly risky for actually poisoning children. Sometimes, brand new decor is made to appear like antique. At Disney’s Castaway Cay island, I saw some decor that looked like it was just trying to to look old but likely wasn’t:

But other times, it looked like it might actually be antique. Definitely don’t touch anything that looks antique:

-Smoking is allowed in a couple parts of the ship at certain times and cigarettes are sold at some of the bars.

-The fireworks supposedly are biodegradable and follow standards that would safeguard against heavy metals, however, they still create quite a bit of smoke that you will breathe if you are on the very top decks. It might be slightly better near the pools, but to completely avoid it, you could find out which side of the ship the fireworks go off of, and book a room on that side and watch from your window or closed door. My post about fireworks explains more about the issues with them.

More Non-Toxic Tips:

-The Disney Fantasy ship is one of their newer vessels. I personally would avoid the older ships, which may have more toxicity and potential mold.

-There are filtered water dispensers in a few locations on the ship. I also brought a small Zero Water pitcher (amazon associates link) and that made it convenient to be able to have water and fill our water bottles in our room. They provide glass cups in the room, so I washed one and used it to fill the pitcher, because the pitcher won’t fit in the sink. I carry a stainless steel water bottle at all times, so I never drink out of any cups on board.

-I also bring my own travel air purifier:

-If you want to go in the pools or splash pads, I recommend rinsing off just before and immediately after, using the showers on deck. Here is why. They do have shower stations near the pools and slides:

-Be aware there is a gifting sub culture on Disney cruises. People hang “fish extenders” which are basically a bag or receptacle that people can leave candy and goodies. This is an example of someone else’s door:

Here is my non-toxic fish extender and door sign, using a canvas bag and stickers. I also kept our door decorations simple. We could have done a nicer job and still stayed non-toxic, but I wasn’t motivated to take the time. Some people go all out with laminated name signs for their door, but those are more toxic to make.

-People also hide rubber duckies around the ship. Rubber duckies are almost always made of flexible plastic that includes toxic PVC and phthalates. Even worse, these are often sold technically as decor (not as toys) so they avoid regulations on things like heavy metals in the paint.

I have to admit that the duckies and the fish extenders added fun to the trip. So I let my kids keep one duck each, and wash hands after playing with them. If you have babies or young kids that might put them in their mouth, I would not let them play with those. I heard that recently, Disney banned the practice of hiding ducks.

Do be aware that you might get candy or items you don’t approve of, so maybe find a way to check before your kids do.

The jewelry gift shop advertises free pendant giveaways. The ones we got look like this and the gold paint seems like it rubs away easily, so I wouldn’t let kids play with these.

Navigating Eating and Food Allergies:

-See filtered water discussion in the section above.

-I noticed that the coffee mugs in the buffet areas are made of plastic. Putting hot liquids in plastic increases the potential leaching of toxicants in the plastic.

-At first, I was excited to see “No sugar added” desserts offered as an option at every meal. I had read that the phrase “no sugar added” is regulated and means that no sugar or artificial sweetener is added; the sweetness comes naturally from ingredients that are naturally sweet, such as fruit. That turned out not be the case on Disney Cruises; staff confirmed they use artificial sweeteners. Given the dangers of artificial sweeteners, I recommend that if you really have a sweet tooth, have a bite or two of the regular desserts. Perhaps get one to share as a table.

-Once you have a cruise reservation, on the Disney Cruise app you can request special accommodations for allergies. You can also let them know if you will be celebrating and special days like birthdays or anniversaries, and they will bring special treats in the dinner restaurants. The deadline to submit is 3 days before your cruise departs. The options are:







Do be aware that they treat allergies seriously! This is great if you have real allergies. If you simply have preferences not to eat these things, be aware it won’t be simple to switch back and forth. There is no separate or special menu; they make changes to the existing menu if possible. If you have preferences but aren’t strict, you can just look at the menu and ask for substitution availability/ possibilities at each meal.

-Be aware that the scrambled eggs contain milk. It is possible to request fresh cracked eggs cooked under the style of your choosing, even at the buffets. They do have a vegan scrambled egg product.

-As for avoiding food dyes, one thing I noticed is that many desserts didn’t appear to have dyes, but had colored sprinkles decorating the plate (this includes on the standard desserts given for birthdays and anniversaries. So be sure to request no sprinkles even if you’re ordering something that sounds like it wouldn’t have dyes, such as chocolate desserts. Someone I spoke to said that supposedly Disney Cruises don’t use Red 40 dye, but we were both skeptical because the red they use looks very bright red, which is hard to do naturally. I requested no dyes in the cupcake below but it came with colored sprinkles. We scraped them off and didn’t eat the disc with the character printed on it.

-There is a free soft serve ice cream machine that appears to use dyes. But there is also hard scooped ice cream in basic flavors available at the buffets and restaurants, and some of those don’t have dyes. They do have vegan ice cream available if you ask. When I asked, I saw it was a carton of So Delicious brand. If you are going to have ice cream, I recommend the hard scooped or vegan options rather than the soft serve, which contains so many additional artificial ingredients. The sweets store also sells ice cream and most of them have dyes:

-The dessert/ sweets store is also full of of fancy looking sugary treats with lots of dye. I personally can’t understand why anyone would pay for desserts when there are ones available for free at the coffee shops and at every meal, but I can see how the unique colors and designs would be attractive.

-Mickey bars (vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate coating) are also available by request in restaurants and from room service. Here are the ingredients, almost all of them are not good:

-Fresh fruit and whole bananas are also available. I usually avoid all sugars, even fruit. But if you want something sweet, fruit would definitely be the best option. Also, fruit is often some of the least toxic food options. Even though it won’t be organic, at least it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients added and it isn’t processed.

-There is a juice / smoothie bar in the gym/ spa area of the ship (for an added cost):

-I had heard that coffee isn’t free (it can be purchased at coffee shops) but near the pool there is a free coffee dispenser. I don’t drink coffee but my husband does. I don’t think he tried the free kind though.

-Your room attendant will leave chocolate on your bed each night. You can probably request they don’t do that. I retrieved them all before my kids saw them and then gave them away later:

-Note that they do have food available outside of the dining room eating times, but it was all things like pizza, sandwiches and fries (nothing I would eat), so plan accordingly. I don’t recommend snacking anyway. If you do get hungry outside of meal times, room service would be a better bet for more variety and healthy options. I do pack my own healthy snacks from this list.

Sleep Tips:

If you are prone to having difficulty sleeping and are wondering what it’s like to sleep on a cruise ship, I’d say it is somewhat similar to sleeping in a car or airplane, with the addition of a real bed of course.

In general, the lower you go on the ship, the more you can feel the movement of the water. We had a deluxe veranda (balcony) room on the 7th floor, and it wasn’t too bad, although there were ambient noises, which seemed to be possibly from the lifeboats bumping against the ship, at least that’s kind of what it sounded like.

If you are afraid of falling overboard, it may make you feel better to know you’ll most likely fall on the lifeboats instead of the water:

Higher decks perhaps might have less of that noise, but possibly more noise from other things, such as the pool decks. There’s a lot of considerations to choosing a room location!

Check out my post about unique natural sleep tips here.

Environmental Tips:

In the bathroom, there is a sign that says they won’t take towels that are hung up, but on our stay, they seemed to take the used ones every day even if they were hung up. You can speak to your stateroom attendant and try to request that they don’t do that, if you wish. They also have a way to donate money at the end of your trip.

In the dining rooms, they give kids plastic cups. I was told these get thrown away, so we requested they stop bringing them. However, in the buffet areas, they get washed and re-used.

I’m pretty sure they use an incinerator for the trash, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly thing.

They do provide recycling bins in the staterooms, but I actually didn’t realize that at first, because it looks like a trash can. Upon closer examination, it appears that the bin in the stateroom is for recycling, and the trash cans in the bathrooms are trash. I recommend discussing this with your stateroom host to clarify and making sure everyone in your room understands too.

Tips for Kids:

-My personal opinion for the best minimum age to bring children on this ship is all of the following: At least 3 years old, 42 inches tall (height requirement for the Aquaduck slide) AND toilet trained. Those will allow for fullest utilization of all the perks on the ship. That said, I brought a child who didn’t meet all that criteria and he had a good time.

-But an important note is “only children who are toilet trained are permitted to enter swimming pools and spas aboard cruise ships. Children who are not toilet trained are welcome to enjoy our kids’ wet play areas and splash zones, where they must wear swim diapers. Please note: Swim diapers are NOT permitted in the pools, whirlpool spas, on the AquaDuck or in the AquaLab.”

-If you have a child still wearing diapers or pull ups, bring ziplock bags to put used ones in until your trash cans get emptied.

-There isn’t really much to do for infants and younger toddlers besides the splash pads, and “Andy’s room” which is only open to kids outside the kids clubs for a total of three hours the whole week:

-Free Kids clubs (walk in anytime) start at age 3 and must be toilet trained. There are handwashing stations that are required when entering and exiting. I love that they are handwashing, but, the soap has toxic ingredients and is built into the system. I let my daughter use them because of the importance of handwashing and because the rest of the time, we use our own non-toxic soap.

-The nursery for babies and non-potty trained toddlers is smaller and costs money (I think $4.50 per half hour) and must be reserved and is subject to availability. If you don’t want them to have your child nap, tell them clearly. My kid was not happy that they had him lie down and do nothing for a while. Note that there is NO handwashing protocol for kids in the nursery. They use hand sanitizer if they give them a snack. I brought my own soap for my kid to wash hands and they complied with having him use that before eating.

-My husband said that one of the bars overlooks the teen kids club pool. That could be concerning especially if you have a teen girl that would be in that pool.

-We booked an optional Royal Court Royal Tea Party at an additional cost. For these types of activities that involve food, you can request accommodations for allergies. Here are the gluten-free (I think I requested dairy free too) treats we got. The desserts were delicious, but we didn’t like any of the meat/ egg plate, which was the replacement for little sandwiches.

And these were the regular offerings:

These are the gifts that the kids take home:

General Cruise Tips:

-The bag drop off procedures are fast and convenient! You pull over and give them your bags curbside and they will be brought to your room later. Then you can go park and won’t have to drag all your bags on the walk back. However, label your garment bags because ours didn’t make it to the room (we did get them later from guest services).

-The itinerary can change suddenly. We booked a Western Caribbean cruise and it was switched to Eastern Caribbean after we boarded! That was a bit stressful because we had to re-book different excursions.

-There is a Facebook group created for each sailing date, and is only open to those who have booked that specific journey. This is a great way to get to know other passengers and get tips from seasoned travelers.

-There is a scheduled fire drill shortly after boarding completes. The water rides shut down beforehand so don’t plan to be in line for those at that time. They also shut down at other seemingly random times, so be sure to ask about that.

-Other attractions also close earlier than we expected every day, such as the mini golf.

-It was tricky figuring out how to purchase the WiFi access. It’s expensive; we spent $300 for two people to have the mid-grade package. Be sure to consider that when budgeting; also be aware that tipping your stateroom attendant and dining attendants is mandatory at the end of the trip.

-If you are deciding whether or not to get a veranda room, we got one and it was nice because the room is also bigger, but in my opinion the veranda probably wasn’t worth it for us. If you are the type to get room service and hang out in your room a lot, it may be worth it to you. Note that room service food is free, but you need to tip about $1 per item, so that money can add up. Also I mentioned earlier about possibly watching fireworks from your room if that’s appealing to you.

-You will be assigned a stateroom attendant who will stop by your room twice a day. There are rules that you can’t be in the room at the same time as the attendant, but you can arrange a set time with them so that it won’t interfere with kids bedtimes and such. I think it was ok for us to be on our veranda at that time, so that is another perk of rooms with verandas

-The bathroom sink water gets scalding hot and isn’t super obvious which way to turn it on to avoid that, so supervise kids when they are using the sinks.

-Turning on the bathtub/ shower was also not obvious. Here is a video I made with directions:

-I mentioned we would wash our hands in the bathroom before eating in the restaurants, but be aware that the bathrooms are not near the restaurants, so just be prepared for some walking back and forth.

-We went to all the shows and highly recommend Aladdin! If you are a Frozen fan, you’ll love that one, but otherwise it’s not that different from the movie. If you like magic shows you might enjoy theirs; we aren’t big fans though. The Believe show was kind of a mash up of all things Disney; in my opinion if you miss it, don’t worry too much especially if you don’t have kids. Get to the shows early enough to get seats. They will all fill up.

-I happened to stumble upon learning about the Rainforest feature in the spa, that costs an additional fee. My husband and I meant to try it out but didn’t make it. It looks cool though:

-You can request these type of buttons for free:

-Here’s helpful info for navigating your way around the ship. It’s surprisingly easy to get directionally challenged!

If you go on a cruise, have fun! Here is my husband and I doing acro yoga on board:

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