TIPS FOR A DISNEY CRUISE

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In this Disney Cruise Line Review, one of my favorite bloggers, Tara from Travel Plus Family, shares tips for a Disney Cruise from her experiences aboard the Disney Dream. 

Tips For Booking a Disney Cruise

Booking a Disney Cruise ship vacation is a luxurious way to experience the Disney magic while exploring the world and replenishing your soul with tons of rest and relaxation. Disney Cruise Line sails to many destinations across the globe and offers cruises of various lengths.

The price of a Disney Cruise, however, is staggering when compared to other cruise lines. Prices range from $1000 per person for a 2-night cruise to over $10,000 per person for a concierge level room on a 7+ night cruise. However, the quality of service and perks of a Disney Cruise are incomparable to other lines.

You can book a Disney Cruise directly through Disney or via a travel agent. There are pros and cons to both methods and each should be researched to determine the method best suited for your family’s needs.

After you have your cruise reservations, you can book onboard and shore activities. These activities range include character meet and greets, spa passes, and adult-only dining experiences. Be sure to complete all your online paperwork (including passport information, etc.) prior to your booking window in ensure you will be able to book activities as soon as your window opens.

Booking Window Schedule:

  • First-Time Cruisers: 75 days prior to sailing date
  • Silver Castaway Club Members (1-5 cruises): 90 days prior to sailing date
  • Gold Castaway Club Members (6-10 cruises): 105 days prior to sailing date
  • Platinum Castaway Club Members (10+ cruises): 120 days prior to sailing date

Tip: After booking your cruise, download the Disney Cruise app for a fun countdown calendar. You can also use this app to text other cruisers while on the ship. No need to purchase the wi-fi package.

Meet The Disney Cruise Line Fleet

Disney currently has four active cruise ships:

The smaller classic ships host approximately 2,500 passengers each.

  • Disney Magic- built in July 1998
  • Disney Wonder- built in August 1999

The newer ships carry around 4,000 passengers

  • The Disney Dream- built in January 2011
  • Disney Fantasy- built in March 2012

Disney is currently building three new ships with scheduled completion dates between 2021 and 2023.

Disney Cruise Line's Magic Ship
Disney Magic Cruise Ship Image By Gator Chris
Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
Disney Wonder by Andrew Milligan Sumo
The Disney Dream Cruise Ship
Disney Dream Cruise Ship Image By Noelle
Disney Cruise Fantasy
Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Image By Chad Sparkes

Disney cruise line Stateroom Descriptions

Disney Cruise has four basic categories of staterooms, each occupying 3-4 people through fold-out couches and/or bunk beds. Regardless of which category you book, each room is immaculately maintained by the stateroom hosts.

Inside Stateroom:

This category is going to be your least expensive option. Depending on the ship, this category will either have a magic portal (Dream and Fantasy) or no window (Magic and Wonder). A magic portal is a computer-generated view of the outside with a few fun surprises, such as a cartoon starfish popping up every now and then. Don’t be too bummed out for not having a window, you don’t spend a lot of time in your room and the added darkness from no window, makes for wonderful sleep.

Oceanview Stateroom:

Next up the price scale is the Oceanview stateroom. This category gives you a little bit more room and offers at least one large porthole window to view the outside.

Verandah Stateroom:

This category is a little larger than the Oceanview stateroom and offers a private verandah. For those concerned about traveling with children in a room with a verandah, the sliding door is heavy and has a lock high up on the door. Verandahs are excellent for families who spend more time in their rooms than wandering around the ship.

Concierge Stateroom:

The most expensive category you can book is the concierge stateroom level. These rooms are the most luxurious rooms on the ship, have private verandahs, premium amenities,  and offer larger suites.

In general, most staterooms come with two bathrooms; one with a tub/shower and sink and, the other with a toilet and a sink. This feature is awesome when all family members are getting ready at the same time. The stateroom has a small fridge, television, plenty of closet space, drawers, and under bed storage. The space might be small, but it has been efficiently designed.

Disney Cruise Line Dining Options

Except for the specialty restaurants, all meals are provided in the cost of your cruise. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, room service, and all the counter service or buffet meals you can eat.  Also included in the price are sodas, tea, coffee, and water.

Tip: Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at the drink fountains. Due to hygiene issues, use a paper cup to fill up your bottle vs. placing it directly against the machines.

Unique to Disney’s Cruise ships is that instead of being stationed at only one dining room for the entire length of the cruise, you rotate through all the dining rooms. Each dining room is specifically themed, and some have entertainment that you will not want to miss. Your dining room rotation schedule will be assigned to you after boarding the ship. While the cuisine will vary from cruise to cruise, this dining overview about the Disney Dream from Travel + Family will give you a flavor of what to expect in a Disney Cruise Line restaurant.

Disney Cruise Line Dining Room

Disney Cruise also offers adult-only restaurants. Palo (on all ships) and Remy (Dream and Fantasy only), offer elegant adult-only dining experiences. A meal in one of these restaurants should be booked as soon as your booking window opens. While these experiences come at an extra cost, the benefit of a romantic meal alone with your partner is typically worth it!

Bonus TIP: DFBGuide Shares Some Disney Cruise Line Dining Secrets

DFBGuides has this great video sharing a few “non-published” secrets about dining on a Disney Cruise Line. (Dole Whip and Mickey Bars!! Say what??)

Disney Cruise Line Amenities

On a Disney Cruise, you can stay busy every single moment of the day or you can squander yourself away and just watch the waves go by. The choice is always yours, but with all the amenities the cruise ship offers it is going to be a hard choice to make.

Youth Clubs

The youth clubs are divided into four different groups: Nursery (6 months to 3 years), Oceaneer’s Club and Lab (3 to 12 years), Edge (Tweens), and Vibe (14 to 17 years). Each area offers age appropriate activities that your kids will love. Disney offers top-notch child-care and security protocols. For example, children cannot leave the Oceaneer’s Club unless the counselors can match your child’s security profile with your photo (and even a password if you choose).

Disney Cruise Line Youth Club Toy Story Pig

As an added level of comfort, each room comes with a Wave Phone. These phones are portable and allow for the youth clubs to contact you if your child has a need.

Note: The nursery is the only youth club that charges extra for childcare and requires reservations.

Disney Cruise Line Slinky Dog In The Youth Club

Disney Cruise Line Pools

Each of the Disney Cruise ships has a different arrangement on the pool deck. In general, they have family pools, splash areas for younger kids, fun slides for older kids, and amazingly quiet and serene adult-only pools.

Disney Cruise Line Disney Dream Pool Deck
Disney Cruise Line Disney Dream Pool

Note:  All kids must be potty trained to swim in the pools. Swim diapers are not allowed. Kids who are not yet potty trained can play in the splash areas.

Disney cruise line kids splash pad

Disney Cruise Line Spa, Salon, and Fitness Facility

Each ship has a spa, salon, and fitness facility for adults to enjoy. They have passes you can purchase to simply use the luxurious showers or you can book any type of spa or salon service imaginable!

Disney Cruise Line Senses Spa and Salon

The fitness facility offers classes, training, and consulting. Just be careful, many of the consulting might result in being pushed into a “sales speech” where you feel obligated to purchase products. The fitness equipment faces a large window, so you can workout while basking in the beauty of the open ocean.

Disney Cruise Line Fitness Center

Disney Cruise Line Entertainment

Movie Theatre

There are movie theatres on every Disney cruise ship featuring Disney movies, including classics and first-run movies. Star Wars and Marvel buffs will love being able to watch their favorites on the big screen again!

Broadway-Style Shows

Disney offers Broadway-style shows before or after dinner (depending on your dining schedule). These performances are top-notched and easily entertain kids of all ages. The shows vary by cruise ship, so be sure to check out the Disney Cruise Line website to see what is playing on your cruise.

Tip: Snag a seat in the front middle-section. Confetti, snow, bubbles, etc., fall from the ceiling during the acts and your kids will love being able to catch a piece of the action.

Disney Cruise Line Adult District

Located just down the steps from the nursery and Oceaneer’s Club is the adult district. In this adult-only section of the ship, you can order specialty cocktails, listen to live music, play trivia, or watch sports.

Disney Cruise Line Arcade
Disney Cruise Lin Bar Tap

Should You Book a Disney Cruise?

The benefit of booking a Disney Cruise instead of another cruise line is simply to have the Disney quality of service along with the touches of magic. Here a few specific perks of a Disney Cruise:

Character meet and greets occur all day long!

Kids can quickly fill up their autograph book without spending too much time in line.

Disney Cruise Line Collage- Disney Dream

Themed cruises: Unique Experience Only on a Disney Cruise Line Vacation

Your Own Private Island (sort’ve)

Most Caribbean cruise itineraries come with a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This Caribbean island is not only beautiful, but it has many Disney touches that you don’t want to miss.

Castaway Cay Beach Image by Anthony
Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay Waterslide and Ocean Images

Disney Cruise Tips For The Whole Family

  • Disney Cruises are ideal for multi-generational vacations.
  • On most cruises, you can relish a firework show over the ocean.
  • Ability to book a land / sea package to provide you with days at Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise gives the best of both worlds.

Taking a Disney Cruise can often be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is an expensive vacation, but if you love all things Disney and enjoy cruises, then you owe it to yourself and your family to do a little research to see if this vacation is within reach!