Yo ho, yo ho, a Disney Cruise life for me! I’m honestly still on a bit of a Disney hangover from our trip with Disney Creators last month – it was straight up magic. Especially since it was our first time on any cruise and since so many of you had Disney Cruise-specific questions, I wanted to dedicate a full blog post just to our Disney Cruise experience, so that you know as much as humanly possible about what to expect when planning your own next vacation!
I broke everything down between info from on board and on the boat itself, and then when docked/off-boat, so all of that is below. But first, some Disney Cruise line fun facts!
- Disney movies premiere on the boat at sea the same day as on land (they have a big, beautiful theater on the boat to catch Disney movies!)
- Disney Cruise Line had to get special permission from the coast guard to use yellow lifeboats instead of orange to match Mickey Mouse’s shoes!
- Minnie Mouse became Captain Minnie on board in 2019 to promote female leadership in STEM and the maritime industry
- All Disney Cruise Line ships have free soft-serve ice cream on deck (+ on Disney’s island, too!)
- You can get Mickey ice cream bars delivered to your room for free – which I did NOT know while on board and am lowkey salty about because I LOVELOVELOVE MICKEY ICE CREAM BARS. They’re classic – vanilla ice cream with a dark chocolate shell (as seen here) and are a must-try treat!
- Disney’s at-sea fireworks have biodegradable shells that the crew calls “fish food”
- There are so many characters on board, it truly feels like Disney! Two Disney Cruise line boats (including ours, the Disney Dream) have musical ship horns that can play classic Disney songs to set sail.
ALRIGHT ALRIGHT – here’s basically everything to know about a Disney Cruise. 😉 There are 4 ships in the Disney Cruise Fleet: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Fantasy, and the Disney Dream (ours!).
We were aboard the Disney Dream, which fits 4,000 passengers and has a 765-foot AquaDuck water coaster on board the top deck. The Disney Dream is about 40% bigger than the Disney Wonder and Magic; it’s got two additional decks and 1,250 staterooms. There are ALL THE THINGS to do on board for young and older alike; there are five specialized kids clubs, an adults-only Quiet Cove pool, a spa/salon, nine themed eateries including two adults-only finding dining restaurants, three family dining sit-down venues and a buffet for breakfast/lunch. There’s The District, which is an oasis for us big kids with bars, lounges, etc. In terms of the restaurants/food, Animator’s Palate is one of the coolest, especially for kids. The walls around you are covered in screens and friends from Finding Nemo swim around and interact with guests in real time, which keeps in line with the magic of a Disney Cruise and Disney in general! It can be a bit noisy there, but it’s fun. We actually preferred the buffet meals during the day typically because they just had SO many fresh options, and it was great for Olivia being able to just pick and choose different things for her there. (For reference, food is all included with the cost of your Disney Cruise, but alcohol is extra – you just pay per drink!)
The rooms themselves are tight and compact but accessible and packed with anything + everything to help make your stay comfortable. Our room (we were in statement #10040, FYI) had a big bed, a sofa bed, as well as an additional bed that could pull down from the ceiling to make a bunk over the sofa bed – and there was still enough room for a pack n’ play, which Disney Cruise provided. You are assigned a stateroom helper for your cruise, too, who takes care of your room, any special requests/needs, etc. Ours was SO kind + helpful – he even brought us green apples the first night of rougher seas because he said that’s supposed to help calm your stomach – who knew?!
Over 85% of the cabins have ocean views or verandas, and they do have accessible staterooms for anyone looking for accessibility on board. Disney movies are constantly playing in the theater, at the pool, and you have Disney shows + movies available to watch for free anytime on your stateroom TV! (Which we did the first night – we skipped the first night entertainment on deck to just cozy up and watch Brave as our stomachs adjusted – ha!)
Speaking of entertainment, Disney Cruise Line is SO GOOD about loading up your cruise itineraries with anything + everything where you actually feel like there are ALL THE THINGS to do and just not enough time. They’ve got an award-winning production of Beauty & the Beast on board the Disney Dream which we loveloveloved – Liv made it about 3/4 way through before J had to take her back for bedtime, and girlfriend was LIVING for it – she was standing at the balcony cheering and clapping for everyone THE ENTIRE TIME.
There’s a nursery onboard called the Small World nursery for infants, and there are lots of kids’ clubs, too; you can take the kids to the Oceaneer Club for a Millennium Falcon experience on board the Disney Dream! There’s a tween/teen dance club, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board, the big Pirate Party on deck night two, pool-deck party fireworks – which are made from biodegradable materials!
Word on the cruise street is that a Disney Cruise is smoother sailing than other cruise lines because of their extra attention + dollar spend on boat stabilizers. I know in my recap of our whole trip I mentioned the first night being a hot mess express on the high seas, but that was because apparently there were 15-20 foot swells going up against the boat because it was SO windy and waters were SO choppy, and realistically, they did everything they possibly could.
The boat is clearly LOADED with activities, restaurants, shopping, entertainment – the works.
Your sail kicks off with a Sailing Away party with Mickey, Minnie + the gang, and it’s just such a fun celebration with singing + dancing that feels so magical. There are character greetings throughout the cruise, too, and other activities that are all loaded up on the Disney Navigators’ app + on your room TV’s, so you can know what’s going on at any point and plan accordingly!
On your second day, you dock – so let’s chat about the different Disney Cruise Line ports of call.
We were on a 3-night Disney Cruise which stopped at Nassau, Bahamas, as well as Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. You always have the option whether or not to get off the boat at ports of call – it’s all up to you! I was surprised initially how many folks opted to stay on boat for the first day at Nassau, but now I don’t blame them. The island is nice but it was a bit chilly/windy that day – it can also feel pretty touristy/overpriced with people approaching you constantly to buy this or buy that or go here or do that. We didn’t have any excursions on the calendar (you can book excursions ahead of time, like going swimming with dolphins, fishing on a boat, sightseieing or heading to Atlantis, etc) and just planned to explore ourselves + hang out at the beach, which definitely made the most sense for us with Olivia.
We did get BANGIN’ iced coffees with Bailey’s on the island before getting back on the boat!
The next port of call was on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is where basically every soul deboards because it’s just GORGEOUS – and luckily, we had fabulous weather for a truly beautiful beach day. There’s a big 5K on the island in the morning weather permitting, and then otherwise you have the day to just explore any of the family beaches, hit up the adults-only private beach called Serenity Bay, grab a bit at the BBQ spots or bars on the island, and just enjoy some R&R on the white sand.
Characters come off the boat, too, and it’s just a really great time. There’s also a tram to help you navigate the island, as well as a kids’ club to watch kids if the parents want some private time together at the adults-only beach – which is definitely more quiet than the family beaches!
On the island you can also rent tubes to float around in, or purchase a little bucket/shovel etc in the little gift shops. Chairs/umbrellas are all out on the beach already and you don’t have to pay extra for that – just get off the boat earlier rather than later to have your choice pick of the bunch!
PHEW. I think that’s all for now, folks.
Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise?
Have you been on ANY cruise before? Are you a fan? Would lovelovelove to hear about your own Disney Cruise experience, especially if you were on a different boat than us, and/or your cruise experiences in general if you’ve been on the high seas with another cruise line!