We have taken several cruises in the past, but this was our first Disney cruise, first cruise with kids and also our first Transatlantic cruise. It departed from Barcelona
and ended in NYC, and all four of us had a fantastic time! The food was delicious, we didn’t get seasick and we definitely experienced the magic of Disney!
Before we left, I read a review about someone else’s Disney cruise and it stated that they couldn’t wait to get off the ship at times and relax because there are so many activities on board to do. There was so much to do and many nights we didn’t get back to our stateroom until 9pm or later!
Here are all the things we learned about a Disney cruise that will hopefully help in planning your trip:
1. There are three dinner restaurants that you rotate through, while keeping the same service staff. This ended up being very nice because the staff are skilled at observing your habits and go above and beyond to provide a fun and enjoyable dinner. They learned the little things about the girls that make a big difference at dinner time. For example, Adele is a poor eater, but will drink milk non-stop. They always made sure to have a full glass of milk waiting for her 🙂 If they saw one of the girls getting fidgety while Chris and I were still eating, they would come over and make an animal out of a napkin or play with them just to buy us even 5 or more minutes to finish. They even walked our dessert to our room one evening after Adele hit her wall of exhaustion. The dining staff was truly exceptional.
2. All non-alcoholic beverages are included, no additional charge. This includes Coca-Cola products, coffee, hot chocolate, tea, milk, juices, etc.
3. Kids coloring menus are Disney themed, and different every night, so it’s always exciting to see what’s coming. Olivia loves to color, so they always had crayons and something for her draw.
5. Characters make guest appearances at most dinners, performing a dance sequence and short show. The girls LOVED them! And we loved watching them take it all in 🙂 Our favorite was Sorcerer Mickey, but we also saw the Beast and Belle dance one night, which was fun.
6. Room service is free! We did this almost every night for milk & cookies, or cheese plates & fruit bowls. It’s available 24 hours a day. It never took more than 10 minutes from the time we placed the order. We miss it every night now!
7. Disney is happy to accommodate any food allergies or requests made so that everyone can enjoy their meal.
8. They are also happy to accommodate other simple requests, like we asked for a bowl of strawberries at breakfast for Adele and they brought a huge bowl full – without hesitation. Everyone was so happy to help!
9. All staterooms include shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a hair dryer.
10. Rooms are serviced once in the morning, with an additional turndown service at night.
11. Pack n plays & diaper genies are available upon request. Disney thinks of everything!
12. Bring any Disney magnets that you have to decorate your stateroom door! Everyone’s door down the hallway looks so fun! The couple across the hallway noticed our door was empty and could hear Olivia and Adele playing with their magnets, so they decorated ours for us! We were one of very few first time Disney cruisers and were rookies when it came to door decor . We saw many doors decorated with 10+ magnets from previous cruises. We also hung up some of the girls crafts from the kids club on our door!
13. Our stateroom attendant left us a towel animal every night! The girls were so excited to see what it would be! In addition to the Ghiraradelli chocolates she put on all of our pillows! They loved Ms. Annett! She also brought us some fun accessories that we would need for the next day’s parties – Pirate Mickey handkerchiefs, Frozen glow in the dark necklaces, etc.
14. Each evening your stateroom attendant will leave your Personal Navigator sheet on your bed. This includes the next day’s schedule of events like Bingo, character appearances, production shows, restaurant dining hours, and anything else you might need to know in preparation for the next day.
15. We stayed in the deluxe interior stateroom and never had an issue with the space. There were plenty of drawers, a nice sized closet, a private safe, and more than enough room for our double stroller and suitcases under the bed. There were so many activities going on constantly, that we used the room mostly to sleep and get ready.
16. Staterooms have separate rooms for the toilet and tub/shower. Both have their own vanity. Our room had 1 king bed, with the sofa turning into a bed, and a top bunk pulling out from the wall. Very easy for a family of four! Although both of our girls slept together on the bottom bunk, so cute!
17. The tv turns to face any bed so you can watch it from wherever you’re sitting. There were so many different Disney channels that something was always on. We mostly watched Disney Jr., Disney Classic Animated Movies, and Disney Pixar Movies.
18. There are clubs for all ages, with drop-off services at each of them. There is a one hour minimum for the babysitting charge. We did 1-2 hours each time we dropped the girls off. After the first few times in there, the girls didn’t even say bye to us before just running in to play! They have to wear a bracelet, similar to a magic band, and they loved that too.
19. Each kids club has an open house each day for several hours where parents can stay & play too. The rest of the day is strictly kids only. We went pretty much every time it was open because it’s THAT fun! There were even adults without kids in there because there are some pretty cool things to do!
20. Children 2 and under, and those still in diapers, must be checked into the nursery for the drop-off service. Children 3 and older, who are also potty trained, can be checked into the Oceaneer Club or Oceaneer Lab. Both are for kids ages 3-12, and then there are other clubs for teenagers.
21. Characters make surprise visits in the kids club all the time, even the nursery. The girls got to meet Pluto, Belle (twice!), Cinderella, and Mickey Mouse!
22. They have scheduled activities throughout the day, like a Heffalump Hunt or Mouseketeer Academy. The kids stay interested, and it’s not just a place to drop your kids off so that the staff can put on a movie for them to watch. They keep these kids busy and entertained!
23. Activities include painting, coloring, Disney iPad games, character encounters, meals (scheduled), group games & contests, etc. They are also very conscious of food allergies & sanitization in the clubs.
24. They even have dress up clothes! We took the girls to the nursery one night, and Belle stopped by, so they put all the girls in the club in different princess dresses. Adele loved telling us how she was dressed up like Ariel that night!
25. At the end of the week, the club staff put together a small book of photos of the girls that they had taken during various activities, and some crafts that they made. It was a total surprise to us and we loved it! They made us feel so comfortable with leaving our girls there and I would highly recommend it! (We dropped the girls off mostly to watch some shows after dinner, or so that we could have a dinner date alone.)
26. Characters have scheduled times & locations where they’ll appear throughout the day, so it’s very clear where & when to go. Bring a sharpie and your autograph book with you! There are plenty of opportunities to see most characters, but some characters only appear once. Also, character lines are much shorter towards the end of the cruise than the first few days.
27. Some characters are found just walking around the ship, ready to meet any guest! We saw Belle & Goofy walking around the ship to meet guests, without being on the schedule.
28. There are special meet & greet sessions that require advance complimentary tickets. Ask Guest Services for these tickets when you board the ship. We met Anna, Elsa & Olaf this way since they didn’t have any public appearances.
29. Characters on the Disney Magic that we met were Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Chip & Dale, Max, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle, Stitch, Jake and Sofia. They also had Avengers characters, but our girls don’t know them.
30. There are so many Disney channels on TV, with channels each dedicated to Animated Classics, Pixar, and all of the Disney TV channels. It was great to know that we would always be able to find something to entertain us when we needed some down time.
31. Most of the day, movies are played by one of the pools too. We watched several movies here and loved it! It was nice to grab a drink and a blanket and watch a movie on a big Mickey boat in the middle of the ocean!
32. The Buena Vista Theater plays Disney movies throughout the day, including some still in theater! We sailed September 2016 and the boat was playing Pete’s Dragon, Finding Dory, Queen of Katwe, and The BFG – all of which were still in theaters! We watched Pete’s Dragon and loved it!
33. I love production shows and these did not disappoint! We watched Twice Charmed, The Dream Goes On, and even brought the girls to Tangled the Musical. All were very good and we loved them!
34. There are lots of themed parties to attend – Frozen Party, Pirates Night, Mickey’s Dance Party. Most of them start late, around 10, but they’re so fun we had no problems keeping the girls awake for them.
35. Children in swim diapers are only allowed in the splash pad area. No exceptions. While Donald’s nephews are fun, it’s probably better to wait until everyone’s potty trained before bringing the family on a Disney cruise, if the pools are a big draw for you.
36. The Disney Magic has two water slides, including the one that goes over the ocean! We rode the slides several times, and took advantage of there being no wait since it was a transatlantic cruise and the ship wasn’t full.
37. Towels are provided on all pool decks and there are lots of chairs & tables.
38. Quiet Cove Pool is a pool for 18+. This is a great place to come if you check the kids in to their clubs and want some quiet time on the deck.
39. Beverages, food, and ice cream are provided all around the pool deck. There is nothing you would want that you can’t get from nearby on deck!
40. Diapers, baby food, and plenty of other baby/toddler necessities are provided in White Caps, the store on board. Keep in mind, it’s expensive and they only had size 3 diapers. Adele usually wears a 4 so going back down to a 3 wasn’t a big deal, but be aware that they don’t carry all sizes.
41. There are several laundry areas where you can wash & dry your own clothes instead of using the ships laundering service. It was $5 per load to wash & dry. Our cruise was 11 nights so we did lots of laundry, and came back to NYC with all clean clothes!
42. Each guest is given their own Key to the World card, which serves as a room card, charge card, and organizes all of your professional photos taken.
43. The Disney Magic does not have a casino or any slot machines on board.
It would be difficult for us to try another Cruise line after the exceptional service we received. As with all things Disney, it was magical! We definitely hope to do another Disney cruise in the future.