Picture this: you're lounging on an outdoor deck of a majestic Disney Cruise ship, salty breeze in your hair, nothing but ocean surrounding you. Suddenly you realize you forgot to send one last important work email before leaving for vacation and need to connect ASAP. But does Disney Cruise Line have WiFi?
Hold onto your Mickey ears because navigating the digital waters is as much a part of the Disney Cruise experience as spotting Captain Mickey. Read to the end because we have a great money-saving Wi-Fi tip for you while in ports during your Disney Cruise from our experience sailing with them and traveling all over the world, accessing Wi-Fi.
Embark on a journey with us through the world of high-seas WiFi with Disney.
Disclosure: This page has affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission if you click the link and proceed with a purchase at no cost to you. We recommend cruises, experiences, products, and services we personally use. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Is There Free Internet Access On Disney Cruises?
We know you might be thinking, “I'm here for the magic, not the megabytes!” But in reality, those megabytes might make or break your cruise. We know being connected has made a difference for us while on Disney Cruise ships as we check in with clients as small business owners or stay connected with family as needed.
Luckily, DCL offers free onboard internet for minimal texting.
You can access your regular cellular carrier’s service for mere minutes after the ship deports from its port of embarkation in the United States, assuming the local cellular carrier is receiving service along the coast in that area. But you should connect to the onboard Wi-Fi after you lose cell service as you sail away from your port of embarkation or get connected before the Sail Away Party.
Once on DCL’s Wi-Fi network, free texting is possible via iMessage or WhatsApp. That’s usually how we text message family and friends at home while we sail. WhatsApp works for iPhone and Android users in a similar fashion while onboard. You can also chat with other guests for free via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App.
However, photos and videos will not be sent through iMessage without purchasing the mid-level or higher internet plan; only plain text and emojis will reach the receiving party on complimentary Wi-Fi.
Note that complimentary WiFi is included in Concierge-level bookings. The package type differs depending on room type and can range from Basic to Premium.
Use the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App for Texting and Cruise Activities While Onboard
Using the app is complimentary to all guests regardless of whether or not you purchase an internet package.
If you have not already done so, be sure to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app and log in on your mobile device before your cruise. If you’re boarding the ship from Port Canaveral, we know from experience that there is Wi-Fi in the port that you can access while waiting to board the ship. You can also access the Navigator app while you wait to book things as if you are onboard.
DCL’s Navigator app is also great for cruise planning and a fun vacation countdown before your trip. It’s also useful for checking into your cruise before you board. It remains a helpful tool during your holiday.
Think of the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app as your in-cruise digital director. It’s where you obtain details about daily events, dining rotations, and the ship’s deck plan. It’s also where you can do things like book excursions and activities, make reservations for adults-only dining at Palo, Enchanté, or Remy’s (depending on your ship), and spa treatments before or during your cruise.
The app is completely free to access and use as long as you’re connected to the guest wifi, which is called something like “DCL-GUEST.”
You Need the DCL Navigator App for Childcare Communication
If you check any children into childcare on any Disney Cruise Line ship, you will need the Navigator app to communicate with the team there.
Don’t Let your Cell Phone Battery Die
For this reason and more, we recommend that you bring a portable phone charger with you. You don’t want to be tethered to a phone cord that needs to be plugged into a wall when you’d rather be at the adults-only pool when your child is enjoying the cruise at the Imagineer’s Lab!
Trust us: You’ll be grateful you have a wonderful, lightweight, small portable charger, like Clutch. It charges iPhones, Android phones, and AirPods too!
Must-have Portable Charger for your Cruise
This portable charger is incredibly compact and lightweight. It charges Androids and iPhones. We even use it to charge AirPods. More than that, it's a lifesaver when our phones are our lifeline!
Use code “SOMETIMES10” for a discount.
Can You Browse the Internet With the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App?
Unfortunately, the Navigator app is only for cruise-related information. While it technically uses a network to function, you won’t be able to browse the web with it fully.
However, you can send and receive free text messages to other passengers onboard in the app. We especially love chatting with each other this way while at sea because we adore the little Disney character emojis that are only available through the app. Sometimes I text Dan a bunch of Disney character emojis “just because” with no words. They’re a lot of fun!
How To Connect To DCL Wi-Fi on Disney Cruise Line
Once you’re on the Disney Navigator app while onboard your cruise, you’ll see the option to connect to the internet on the ship’s Wi-Fi network. Click to connect, open the app, and sign into your account if you’re not already logged in.
Adding a Wi-Fi plan onboard is easy once you’re in the Navigator App. You have the option to purchase Wi-Fi for the length of the cruise or per day, per device. You can also add more devices to one plan for 20% off.
Put Your Phone in Airplane Mode While Cruising
If you don’t plan on using your cellular carrier roaming data while cruising, we recommend putting your phone in airplane mode when you cruise. This will ensure that you can connect to available Wi-Fi networks but won’t be charged by your cell provider for roaming data.
Putting your phone in airplane mode is kind of like telling it to use Wi-Fi, but don’t try to connect using cell towers. Conversely, if you want to use cellular data, do not put your phone in airplane mode because cellular data won’t work in airplane mode.
How to Easily Sign Up for Disney Cruise Line WiFi Once Onboard
Internet plans for DCL voyages are fairly straightforward. Here are three easy steps to signing up for onboard Disney Cruise Line WiFi:
◆ STEP 1: From the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, select “Connect to Internet.” A new browser should open with the available internet plans. Choose the package you need by determining what you want to use it for.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi (no purchase necessary): free texting and messaging on iMessage and WhatsApp and within the DCL Navigator App
- Stay Connected Package: good for browsing social media
- Basic Surf Package: appropriate surfing the web, checking email, sending and receiving photos
- Premium Surf Package: the way to go if you need to stream videos or music, send emails, send and receive photos,
◆ STEP 2: Decide if you want it for the full cruise or a 24-hour period. There is a bit of a discount per day if you want to buy it for the duration of the cruise.
◆ STEP 3: Input the number of devices you want to use it for.
There’s an internet plan for every need aboard your cruise. Need to post and share that adorable selfie with Captain Mickey? No problem – go with the Basic Surf plan. Need to check and reply to work emails? Sign up for Basic Surf for that, too, as well as being able to check things like any documents on Google Drive.
If you want to be able to watch YouTube videos, which require faster connection speeds, go with Premium.
Disney Cruise Line Wi-Fi Packages are Per Device
Beware that a Disney Cruise Line WiFi package is per device, not per stateroom.
If you need to use Wi-Fi during your cruise but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to connect multiple devices at once or pay a premium for the highest package, we recommend connecting one device to check email as needed and bring along a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect in international ports with your computer or iPad.
We love our Solis Wi-Fi device that we travel with for this reason and talk more about it here in this post.
Disney Cruise Line Internet Packages and Cost
You can select an onboard Disney Cruise Line WiFi plan based on your usage needs, how many days you want Wi-Fi, and the number of devices that will use the package. Pay, then connect.
It’s important to know that the internet packages offered by Disney Cruise Line are categorized by bandwidth per day, not by time, like on other cruise lines (like Celestyal Cruises or Star Clippers, for example).
In other words, if you buy a package for the day, you don’t have to worry about reaching a megabyte threshold. You’ll be able to use the level of Wi-Fi speed you purchase for the entire day regardless of how many megabytes of data you do or do not utilize.
Complimentary Internet from Disney Cruise Line
The free internet often isn’t enough for most cruisers, especially not in this need to be connected day and age. Let’s explore all your WiFi package options while away at sea with all your Disney friends.
There also used to be a free 50 MB offer when you first boarded the ship, but they no longer offer this to guests. This is partially because they no longer offer Wi-Fi per MB.
Stay Connected Package
➜ $16 a day for your full voyage, or $18 per day for 24 hours
The Stay Connected package should really be called the Social Media plan. It offers a convenient solution for sharing your Disney Cruise experiences on popular social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. It’s also the cheapest package and the most affordable plan.
However, the Stay Connected package has its limitations. While it permits most social media browsing, it does not support access to email, online browsing, or streaming games or videos, including short-form videos.
One advantage of the Stay Connected plan lies in its flexibility. Guests can initially choose a package; if it doesn't meet your connectivity needs, you can easily upgrade to a more comprehensive option.
Basic Surf Package
➜ $24 per day for the full voyage or $28 per day for 24 hours
For a little bit more bang for your buck, the benefits of the Basic Surf plan include the capability to access email, surf the web, send and receive photos, and check the weather. Of course, you can also access all your favorite social media sites.
We’ve had people report they can make video calls through Facebook Messenger on this plan too.
One point to note is that video streaming is not included in the Basic Surf Package. Not even YouTube shorts or TikTok. The Premium plan is the way to go for those looking to access nearly all of the wonders of the web you’re used to, including music or video streaming.
Premium Surf Package – Best Overall Value
➜ $34 per day for a full voyage, $42 for 24 hours
With this internet plan, you will get the fastest connection speed.
You may think that you would get something close to 5G internet speed capabilities as the top-tier internet package. And while the Premium Surf package offers the fastest connection available with Disney Cruise Line, it’s still nothing like fast internet at home.
With it, you can make calls via Facetime or other video chat apps, listen to Spotify or Apple Music, surf the web, and view short-form videos like TikTok. However, you’ll have to survive without any of your streaming networks. This plan still does not support long-form video streaming platforms such as Netflix.
Planning any Zoom or video call meetings for work is too risky. If it's a meeting for which you need reliable, fast internet, it's best not to schedule it during your cruise if you don't need to because the internet is too inconsistent. That's true of most cruise ships' connectivity, no matter the cruise line.
Tips and Tricks for Purchasing Wifi on a Disney Cruise
If opting for a 24-hour package, it’s a full 24 hours. Meaning that if you sign up at 9:00 am on Tuesday, your plan will expire at 9:00 am on Wednesday, the following day.
Add more devices to your package and get a 20% discount. You can also opt to share a plan across devices.
If you don’t need internet access for the entire voyage, you can purchase it at any point during your cruise. In this case, you’ll be charged the discounted voyage rates for the remaining days.
If you are sharing an internet plan across more than one device instead of buying a plan for multiple devices, you need to remember to log out of the internet when you're done using it so you can log in on another device. Otherwise, your other devices cannot access the internet using the same package.
Disney Cruise Line Wi-Fi FAQs
Can You Share an Internet Plan On a Disney Cruise?
You can share a single package as long as you log out of the Wi-Fi on one device and into it on another. If you want to use the same Disney Cruise Line WiFi package on multiple devices simultaneously, make sure you opt for that number of devices when you sign up and pay for a WiFi package.
Is The Internet Fast on Disney Cruises?
Accessibility and internet speeds on DCL ships are limited, so don’t expect perfection. Whether you opt for the very minimal free internet or a paid plan that allows for increased data, it's easy to share your journey with the world while aboard but don't get frustrated when it's not what you're used to at home.
The onboard internet access will likely be slower than you are used to and may occasionally be interrupted or unavailable due to the technology involved in bringing it onboard and satellite connectivity. It also varies per DCL ship; though “fast” is subjective, the internet speed and connectivity vary depending on which ship you’re on and where you are in the world. This is especially true when the ship is enjoying a Day at Sea, and more passengers are using the service.
So is it perfect? No, but for many, having connectivity is a must, no matter the quality, so it's better than nothing.
The fastest internet we’ve experienced at sea with any of the various cruise lines we have sailed with is any cruise ship with Starlink satellite internet. Disney Cruise Line does not currently use Starlink, unfortunately.
Is There Wi-Fi on Castaway Cay?
Access to Wi-Fi on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, requires the use of your Disney Cruise Internet Package. We were surprised to find out that though the island is Disney's, free internet access in Castaway Cay does not exist as it does on the ship as we walked around in the sand trying to message each other from a distance.
Where Can I Get Help With the Internet on a Disney Cruise?
If you can't connect when you're onboard, head to Guest Services. Here you’ll be able to get help signing up for plans, choosing the best plan, and getting help with any troubleshooting issues.
Can You Use Your Cell Phone On A Disney Cruise?
You can use your cell phone on any Disney Cruise, such as Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, Disney Wish, Disney Magic, Disney Wonder….and soon-to-be Disney Treasure! While at sea, your phone will connect to maritime network providers such as AT&T and Verizon, allowing you to make and receive calls just like you would ashore from your stateroom and public spaces.
However, beware that making calls or texting at sea through your cell provider will likely incur additional charges for international roaming. It's wise to check with your service provider about rates if you don’t like surprises.
In addition to roaming charges, Disney charges ship-to-shore rates for “Cellular at Sea,” which are posted in each stateroom.
If you choose to enable roaming and attempt to use your cell phone’s network at sea, your network should kick in when the cruise ship is at least a dozen miles or so away from the shore.
How to Get Wi-Fi in Ports if You Don’t Have an Internet Plan: Solis Hotspot
The best option is to bring your own internet Wi-Fi hotspot on the trip to use when you’re in ports. We do this for every trip, especially traveling to international ports.
We love our Solis Wi-Fi hotspot for many reasons, including:
The hotspot doesn’t work well in Castaway Cay, which makes sense because Wi-Fi on the entire island is weak, and cellular service is also weak there, which means that a hotspot won’t work well either. But in ports in the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and Asia, this is 100% the way to go.