An Introduction To: Disney Cruise Line
April 20, 2016
Disney Cruises go back to 1998 with its first ship where the Disney executives at the time used the 1920’s for inspiration: this meant that the first two ships in the fleet ended up resembling luxurious ocean liners of a bygone era.
You may have seen things of Disney Cruise Line before and skimmed over it assuming it’s strictly for the kids and of no interest to you (let’s face it, we’ve all done that), but you may find yourself surprised at the variety of passengers that choose to cruise with this line…
So, other than the obvious Disney theme on-board the ship, what else can we expect from the fleet? What type of passengers travel with Disney other than the kids? Read on to find out!
Meet the Fleet:
Disney have four ships in their fleet: two from the 90’s and two from a mere few years ago…
Disney Magic: the first ship in the fleet that launched in 1998 weighing 84,000 tonnes. You can read our review of the Disney Magic here.
Disney Wonder: only one year after her sister ship, Disney Magic, arrived weighing 83,000 tonnes. Both ships have the same capacity of 2,400 passengers and both have 11 public decks.
Disney Dream: nearly a decade after the original ships in the fleet launched there was a new addition with Disney Dream in 2011. She weighs 128,000 tonnes and holds 4000 passengers!
Disney Fantasy: 2012 was the year Disney Fantasy launched carrying the same specifications as her sister ship Disney Dream.
Did you know? Measuring 1,115 feet in length, Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream are longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and longer than the height of New York’s famous Chrysler Building!
In 2021 and 2023 Disney will launch their new sister ships but they remain unnamed at this moment in time so stay tuned! They’ll be built by the Meyer Weft Shipyard in Germany and are due to weigh 135,000 tonnes, carrying 1,250 cabins each.
Is There a Typical ‘Disney’ Passenger?
Well your assumptions are assumptions for a reason so yes, Disney Cruise Line is hugely popular with the young kids, we’ll give you that. And you’d be right in thinking that all four ships are massively family-friendly!
You can expect a Walt Disney Theatre that spans three decks, Disney characters wandering round the ship and of course, that reliable kids club.
But Disney Cruises hasn’t forgotten about the adults (the ones supervising and going along to all the Disney fun), because you’ll find an exclusive spa and adult only pool- the stuff dreams are made of right?
When reviewing what Disney had to offer for adults, Gillingham from Blackwell stated “The adult only areas allowed for a slightly more risqué entertainment and the bartenders certainly knew a few ‘adult jokes’. We actually felt more ‘exclusive’ than any of our previous cruises’. You can read more of their review here.
Did you know: a whole one third of the guests on-board each Disney ship will be travelling as an adult-only couple with no children (some of us will never grow out of our love for Disney magic!)
You can, of course, rely on most things being Disney related! You’ll be treated to breath-taking Disney stage productions and, weather permitting, a firework display at sea (what could be more magical!)
When reviewing the entertainment and activities on-board Disney ship’s, Blakemore from East Cowes said: ‘There really is so much to see and do on this ship & no words can really describe how great and how much there is to do; we look forward to one day going back on this ship again whether it is with or without the kids.’ You can read more of this review here.
Once signed in aboard the ship, the fun instantly begins and your children are automatically enrolled into the kid’s programmes on Castaway Cay, the ship’s private island! This’ll include supervised games for specific age groups, bike riding and exclusive Disney character appearances at several points throughout the day. You can read more about Disney’s private island here!
Did you know? You can mail a special souvenir message to family and friends back home by using the Castaway Cay Post Office!
There’s a Walt Disney Theatre on-board, a Buena Vista Cinema that features Disney flicks and Studio sea that’s styled like a television sound stage. ‘Disney Digital 3D’ is a cinema experience that will blow your minds with lasers, fog streamers and special lighting effects! Don’t forget about the Pirates in the Caribbean show and deck party (come on, even the adults are fond of Jack Sparrow).
Did you know? Disney ships feature the first ever watercoaster on a cruise ship, impressive right…
The ships offer you a waterpark-at-sea aspect with the watercoaster that’s clearly visible atop the ship. Not to mention it features a transparent acrylic tube that propels riders along on a raft up and down four decks! It even swings 13 feet off the side and 150 feet above the ocean (well, children are meant to be the most fearless!) If that’s too adventurous for the young ones though, there’s a Mickey Mouse water slide, only 200 feet.
There’s always a thrill seeker in the family and with the breath-taking Aqua Dunk waterslide (that’s almost a straight vertical drop!) they’ll be in their element with this. The loop takes the riders out over the edge of the ship and back; not a ride to be forgotten!
Our specialist cruise consultant Marie sailed on-board Disney and told us: ‘With a huge Disney store on board the stock actually changes with your destination therefore if you are cruising to Alaska you will be able to pick up a Eskimo Mickey Mouse or if it’s the Caribbean you might find Minnie with a grass skirt and coconuts. No excuses for not being able to find that perfect holiday souvenir!’ Read more of Marie’s review here.
Food and Dining
No matter what your taste or preferences for meal times and dining, Disney gives you a solution for everyone…
With the choice to try something different every night, Disney offers you rotational dining where you are welcomed to the table and your waitstaff can get to know your family favourites over your stay. You can be assured that there’s an answer for every different taste with a selection of different cuisines: French, Asian, Caribbean and American favourites.
Did you know? You can also opt for premium choices for an added charge e.g. lobster, steak…
For those nights where the kid’s boredom-at-meal-time levels will peak hours before yours do you can choose to Dine and Play. This means you can enjoy dinner with your young ones then let the Disney Youth Co-ordinates take over and collect them for an evening of fun and games (this means you can head off to the bar for that much needed cocktail!)
If you fancy stepping out of rotational dining there’s lots more options to choose from that will suit your mood:
Casual and quick service dining: feeling a little casual? Head here for some laid back table service where no reservation is needed and choose between seafood, fresh salads, Italian-style pizza, pasta and more!
Adults only: something a little more fancy where you can enjoy the subtle elegance and Northern Italian cuisine (why not delve into some sophisticated champagne brunches!)
Room service: for the days you’re a little too cosy in your cabin, complimentary room service is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It’s included in your cruise price and on the final night it’s even available until 1:30am (sounds like a midnight feast to us!)
Did you know? On an average seven-night sailing aboard Disney Magic, 71,500 eggs are consumed, plus 2,700 bottles of wine and champagne and 57,820 cups of coffee!
You’ll also find that the décor and food of the Palo restaurant are inspired by Italy: the birthplace of both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
Fun Fact: Animator’s Palate features Animator’s Magic where you’ll find animation-adorned walls and a huge high definition flat screen that’ll give you the best views of magical animation that surrounds diners! Plus, this choice of dining offers a savoury mix of Pacific Island foods and Asian cooking, not to mention it is included in the Rotational Dining option.
When talking about Animator’s Palate, Sparks in Sittingbourne stated: ‘The 2nd time we ate at this restaurant we were given a piece of paper and asked to draw a character on it. At the end of dinner this was then transformed into an animation on the screen which was just amazing to see!’ You can read more of this review here.
For a fee, Disney also offers a range of speciality dining for you to choose from:
Remy: Come here if you fancy a relaxed, no-rush feel with the pace lasting three hours or more and a seven course meal (yes, that’s right, seven!) The ultra rich Gallic food will leave you dreaming once you’ve hit home.
Palo: Expect al-fresco dining aswell as seating in a warm Italianate space, showcasing floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views. The Northern Italian eatery will serve you dinner every night, plus champagne brunch on sea days (we’ll take that!) You can opt for lobster ravioli and can fill up on the bread basket, not to mention a cold buffet at brunch if you fancy.
Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats: This is perfect for everyone with a sweet tooth and your eyes will light up at the list of sugary snacks available such as candy apples, cupcakes, ice cream, and truffles! Don’t forget to make the most of a great photo opportunity next to King Candy or Vanellope’s race car.
Family Friendly Facilities
There are plenty of activities to get involved in for the whole family and your kids will always be looked after!
Disney’s Oceaneer Club spans an entire deck and features supervised programmes for ages 3-7 (note that the group is split into two; ages 3-4 and 5-7, so every child feels they fit in!) It features the Oceaneer Lab that offers high tech interactive programmes, hands on science experiments and ship-wide treasure hunts!
Don’t worry there’s something for the teenagers too, like Edge-the loft style lounge filled with high tech fun for tweens (ages 11-14) and Vibe- a trendy venue with a coffee bar, media room and exclusive sun deck (for ages 14-17). Make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to answer trivia questions to win toppings and create your perfect pizza, and Zombified where you can play a zombie extra in a Hollywood performance of tweens in a scary movie!
Did you know? The horn to the ship plays the first line of ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ so the whole family can sing along as you set sail!
Families really are looked after on Disney ships and you can even ask for a bottle warmer or sterilizer from Guest Services on-board if you need them. You can even call Disney Cruise Line before your cruise and request for a bottle warmer in your stateroom!
When reviewing if the cabins were family friendly, Mackenzie from Inverness stated: ‘we had an outside cabin with a huge window where our children loved to sit and watch the world go by and see sunrise and sunset. It was perfect and you get the best of both worlds without having to worry about young children as you might do with a balcony.’ You can read more of the review here.
We all love uploading those lovely family pictures to make the ones at home jealous, so don’t worry, Disney ships allow you to do this with the Wi-fi service it features in staterooms and public spaces.
Did You Know? Our specialist cruise consultant Paige told us: ‘Disney was the first cruise line to have yellow lifeboats rather than the regulation orange. They were granted special permission by the US coastguard to keep within the colour scheme of the ship!!’ Read more of her info on Disney here.
And speaking of pictures, make sure you get one next to the atrium lobby statue that celebrates a classic Disney character (a different one on each ship!) Whether it be Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse dressed in her vintage fashion holding her parasol or Donald Duck striking a pose, get your staple holiday snap!
Disney’s unique features get even better: you know the feeling where you stay in the pool for hours on end, still don’t want to leave but you’re feeling a little chilly? Well no need to worry about that anymore because all of the pools are heated when the water temperature drops (Disney’s got your back!)
Did you know? The condensation from the shipboard air conditioning units is reclaimed and re-used to wash the decks- saving up to 22.3 million gallons of fresh water per year (just when we thought we couldn’t like Disney any more!)
Staff, Dress Codes and Gratuities
As you may have guessed, dress up is welcome on Disney (good news for any young ones desperate to wear their new princess dress or pirate costume!)
On most seven-night cruises there is one formal night and one semi-formal night, so pull out your best frocks and tuxedos to feel the part! No worries, it’s casual attire through the day so your shorts and tank tops are fine to wear, although in the past no shorts or jeans have been allowed in the restaurants on an evening.
Those of you that are frequent cruise travellers will be familiar with gratuities, although the rate does tend to differ on different cruises. Like most other cruise lines, Disney allows you to pay gratuities in advance or on-board, whatever suits you best, and it is still up to you whether you pay at all (you have the option to remove or alter the tips to what you feel is appropriate).
The recommended gratuities are $4 per day for dining room servers, $3 per day for assistant servers, $4 per day for room stewards, although some ships just suggest $12 in total per day, per person. You’ll find that spa gratuities aren’t added on though, and it is left for your discretion.
Did you know? On-board Disney Wonder it works out that there is one crew member to less than every two passengers (and is the same for Disney Magic!) So Disney makes sure you aren’t left waiting in queues or waiting for help for too long- the more passengers the more crew!
You can find out more about Disney cruises here!
So that’s it folks! Do you want to sail on Disney? What’s your favourite feature so far? Let us know in your comments below!
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