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Disney Cruise Line: Disney Magic

Disney Magic Cruise Review

Insider Take


The Magic makeover of 2013 brings a new water slide; kids' Oceaneer Club and adds Marvel Comics characters.

Best For People Who Want

More Disney! Bring it on, Goofy, Mickey, Tinkerbell; a family-oriented vacation with the focus on spoiling your kids to pieces with a lifetime experience they will never forget.

Onboard Experience

Disney characters are everywhere, whether we are talking about costumed actors dressed as Mickey and Dopey hugging your kids for a photo-op, or just referring to the wall-art, statues, banisters on the stairways and wallpaper. Even the ship's horn sounds "When You Wish Upon A Star" instead of the traditional blast as it departs a port. Still, grown-ups as well as kids are likely to enjoy this stunning ship, whose cabins are huge and beautifully decorated, because it has that Disney quality of attention to detail and finding something interesting in everything you see. Disney's private island, Castaway Cay may well provide the best private island experience of any cruise line. The dining program is marvelously innovative; you dine at the same table number with the same dining companions and servers each evening, but in a different restaurant. There's non-stop fun for all, including some adults-only lifestyle and enrichment courses with guest lecturers, wine tastings, cooking classes and a champagne brunch.

There are a few odd notes amid all the opulence here. The 24-hour coffee station has only styrofoam cups, and instead of butter, what you get with your meals is a margarine blend called "butterine." In view of the fact that everything from soup stock to all of the breads and pastries, is made fresh on board, this can only be adjudged as "oddly out-of-place".


Sumptuous fabrics, wood, and hand-woven carpets and furnishings - and the Disney logo - are ubiquitous. The cabins are decorated almost identically, combining modern design with nostalgic ocean-liner elements such as a steamer-trunk closet for kids, globe- and telescope-shaped lamps, map designs on the bedspreads, and a framed photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney aboard the ocean liner Rex sometime in the 1930s.

Some of Disney's vast archive of animation cels, production sketches, costume studies, and inspirational artwork is displayed around the ship.

Public Rooms

When passengers first arrive and enter the majestic Disney Magic atrium what do they behold but a large bronze statue called "Helmsman Mickey" somewhat reminiscent of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. The Walt Disney Theater, which features Disney on Broadway-style productions, is popular at night (though, to be clear, you will not see the same shows Disney has on Broadway such as "The Lion King"). PG-rated Disney movies may be viewed in the Buena Vista Theater.

The ship's sophisticated, elegant adult-only areas are often all but deserted. The art deco Sessions piano bar has large circular windows and cozy leather chairs. Rockin' D Bar features country and western and rock every evening, while the adjacent Beat Street offers comedy. The main Internet center, adjacent to the Promenade, is small and cramped. Not so, though, Cafe Cove, a coffeehouse with books, newspapers, magazines, and a small Internet center, a favorite of most grown-ups.

Two large boutiques sell Disneyana. Logo apparel and suitcases, duty-free perfumes and liquor are also available. (Do note that you can bring your own booze aboard to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your stateroom, but if you buy duty-free from the shop, it's held for you until the end of the cruise.)

Five areas are dedicated to kids and teens, three of them dating back to 2005, when three conference rooms were converted into the Ocean Quest play area for kids, with a scaled-down replica of the ship's bridge on which the more fanciful among them can vividly imagine themselves steering the vessel.

Teens have new area all to themselves (formerly the ESPN Sports Zone).


Gratuities can be charged to your shipboard account. The recommended tipping guidelines per person (including children) are as follows: Dining Room Server $25.75 Dining Room Asst. Server $18.75 Dining Room Head Server $ 6.50 Stateroom Host/Hostess $25.25.

Dining Manager and Room Service tipping is at the passenger's discretion on all cruises. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine, and deck service tabs.


Most other cruise lines would call Magic's standard cabins, in which up to four passengers can feel comfy, mini-suites. Standard inside and outside staterooms are a generous 173 sq. feet, while those with private balconies measure 253 sq. feet. Disney's popular suites can comfortably accommodate four or five people in their 291 square feet. One-bedroom suites are 591 sq. feet. Deluxe suites have two bedrooms and private concierge service. Standard stateroom amenities include color TV with CNN and Disney PG movies, a bath and a half, hair dryer, and good storage space for a short cruise.

In all but the least expensive inside cabins, Magic's bathrooms are divided into a "bath and a half" configuration. One room has a toilet, sink and shelves for makeup and sundries; the other a shallow tub, shower and sink.

Children's Facilities

The ship has age-appropriate children's programs that are the best at sea separated as follows:

6 to 36 months

3 to 11 years

12 to 14 years

15 to 17 years

Kids can stay with siblings upon request. Kids all get tracking bracelets that allow the "keepers" to keep track of their locations.

The days are filled with fun activities; movies, dress-up like pirates and princesses, massive video games for up to 16 simultaneous players, jungle gyms, etc.


With the exception of the Captain's Dinner, at which formal attire (dress or gown for women and dark suit or tux for men) is recommended, evening attire for gentlemen is pants and shirt, skirts or pants for women.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Adult oriented cruising including quiet time in the sun, a casino at night; a library; adult-oriented (rated PG-16 at least) and to be around as few children as possible.


Disney's cuisine has improved dramatically since the ship was introduced, to the point at which it can now be said to rival Princess's, with All-American and Continental fare likely to please all but the most sophisticated palate. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and pizza are available until 6 p.m., and late nights snacks are served in the adults-only lounges. Room service is available 24 hours. The exceptional adult-only Italian restaurant, Palo, has a refined and elegant atmosphere and levies only a $10 surcharge.


In a system invented by and unique to Disney Cruises, each evening passengers dine in a different restaurant with a different theme. Parrot's Cay is tropical, Lumiere's art deco. In Animator's Palate, the room gradually changes from black and white to color during your meal. Palo, an alternative adults-only restaurant, is chic and elegant, but tough to get a reservation for; make your reservation soon after boarding and choose a time either early in the evening (6-6:30 p.m. or 8:45-9:30 p.m.).

A lot of past passengers have pronounced Parrot Cay, the vibrant Caribbean marketplace-themed dining room, their favorite place to eat. Here the waiters bellow Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" and encourage any kids present, to the horror of at least those parents eager to instill in their progeny a sense of decorum, to join them in a mid-meal conga line.

The casual dining restaurant Topsider's, high up and aft, serves breakfast and lunch buffets and is open for dinner as well. Its location is splendid, but its indoor layout makes it difficult to navigate.

Those seeking a casual luncheon menu should head for the self-service Topsider Buffet, but only after being forewarned of its frequent long lines, especially on embarkation day. Limited 24-hour room service is also available.

On that hotbed of outboard activity otherwise known as Deck 9, there are two fast-food locations and a fruit and ice cream bar. Pluto's Doghouse serves burgers, fries, tacos and crisp, juicy chicken breast tenders loved by all non-vegetarians. Pinocchio's Pizzeria isn't nearly as popular, but Scoops, the ice cream station, is a major crowd-pleaser.


As you might expect, it could hardly be more upbeat, especially in children's areas.


Though the Broadway-style productions aren't nearly as glorious as you might expect, given that Disney is so successful on Broadway with the Lion King and adult shows like Aida. But, nevertheless, they are known to be some of the most elaborate and expertly executed shows at Sea, with huge casts, wonderful costumes and jaw-dropping special effects.

Meanwhile, the performers in the family lounges also excel at getting everyone involved. Studio Sea, one of the liveliest spots aboard Disney Magic, is a dance club where parents and children actually dance together. In 2005, a giant screen was added to the ship's funnel to show movies and broadcasts around the pool area.

The deck parties on Magic are some of the most enthusiastically attended at sea, with the Pirates of the Caribbean one being a particular highlight.

For the grownups, there are adult-only nightclubs like the Piano Bar, a lively Jazz Club, and hilarious comedians in different lounges at various times.


There are three pools, one adults-only. Kids love the long water slide. The Vista Spa and Salon, operated by Steiner's of London, has hydrotherapy and all the usual massage and beauty treatments.

During the major refit in 2005, the spa and fitness areas were expanded, and now include three indoor/outdoor spa treatment rooms, new exercise equipment, a spinning class area, and private consultation rooms. -oriented passengers will love the gym, with more equipment than many passengers from small towns in the Midwest would find at their local YMCA. Additional sports activities include basketball, paddle tennis, volleyball. There is a quarter-mile separate track for jogging.

Ship Overview

The Walt Disney Company set a course for a new kind of Disney experience when it formed Disney Cruise Line and launched the first of its twin sister ships Disney Magic in 1998. With its classic beauty and modern conveniences, it blends technology and comforts into a comfortable family vacation. In 2013, Disney Magic received an upgrade that added new upper-deck water features, redesigned kids clubs, and fresh decor throughout the ship. Disney Magicoffers four- to seven-night Mediterranean cruises sailing from Barcelona, as well as seasonal Caribbean cruises from Miami or Galveston.

Reminiscent of classic ocean liners, Disney vessels have two funnels (the forward one is nonfunctional) and high-tech interiors behind their art deco and art nouveau styling. Whimsical design accents cleverly incorporate images of Mickey Mouse and his friends without overpowering the warm and elegant decor. Artwork showcases the creativity of Disney artists and animators. The atmosphere is never stuffy.

More than 15,000 square feet—nearly an entire deck—are devoted to children's activity centers, outdoor activity areas, and swimming pools. Theaters cater to family entertainment with large-scale production shows, movies, dances, lively game shows, and even 3-D movies.

Adults-only hideaways include an avenue of theme bars and lounges tucked into the area just forward of the lobby atrium; the Promenade Lounge, near the aft elevator lobby; and Cove Café, a quiet spot adjacent to the adult pool to relax with coffee or a cocktail, surf the Internet, or read.

With the launch of Disney Cruise Line in 1998, families were offered yet another reason to take a cruise. The magic of a Walt Disney resort vacation plus the romance of a sea voyage are a tempting combination, especially for adults who discovered Disney movies and the Mickey Mouse Club as children. Mixed with traditional shipboard activities, who can resist scheduled opportunities for the young and young-at-heart to interact with their favorite Disney characters?

Although Disney Cruise Line voyages stuck to tried-and-true Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries in their formative years, and sailed exclusively from Port Canaveral, Florida, where a terminal was designed especially for Disney ships, the line has branched out to other regions, including Alaska and Europe.

What You Should Know


  • There are plenty of connecting cabins that fit up to seven
  • Soft drinks at meals and beverage stations are complimentary
  • For adults, each ship has a piano bar/jazz club


  • Only the splash play areas are available for youngsters who wear swim diapers
  • Although a Disney cruise isn't all Disney all the time, it can get tiring if you aren't really into the atmosphere
  • There's no library onboard
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 950
  • Entered Service 1998
  • Gross Tons 83,000
  • Length 964 feet
  • Number of Cabins 877
  • Passenger Capacity 1,754 (2,400 max)
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Aug 28, 2017

Disney Magic terrible compared to Disney Fantasy

We just returned from our family cruise this week on the Disney Magic. Adding insult to injury, I was informed by one of Disney's staff members that this is the last trip for the Disney Magic until it gets entirely rebuilt and modernized. We spent a week on the Disney Fantasy voyage to the Caribbean in December and found the quality of the food and facilities to be superior to any other cruise line. The Disney Magic is a much older boat, and this

trip did not live up to our expectations for Disney. -Palo Restaurant was excellent in both boats -other restaurants the food was inedible -fitness area in the Disney Magic was drab and the equipment was worn down and unusable -Rainforest area in the Disney Fantasy felt almost like an actual spa; in the Disney Magic it was sparse and disappointing I met with the Guest Services Manager and discussed my issues in detail with her. I received a follow-up call from someone in Disney corporate customer service and the person did not understand my frustration with how inferior and wore down a boat Disney Magic is compared to Disney Fantasy. This was not a satisfactory experience.

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  • New

Jan 27, 2014


Have been on 28 cruises our 1st Disney NEVER AGAIN .!Our grandson was hurt on the slide ,he was told to go down when the light went green ..he did ,the gate at the bottom was not open ,He was hurt and we were not happy with the support and medical procedures that followed !! we have pictures of his injury's and of the holiday which was a disaster..we would NOT RECOMMEND this line ..we have taken our grandkids on Royal Caribbean and it was a lot more

kid friendly with clubs and service with safety in mind !! the food was not that great ...if you have kids and want them to stay with you at the table during the whole meal tell them Our grandkids are very well mannered and the 1st night the waiters gave them their food and we had to ask for ours ..the reply was are they not going to the Lab (kids club)no please do not instantly think all kids do not behave at tables when eating out our kids ate with us all 5 days and enjoyed their company this is what you call a family vacation spending time together .they have a kids menu grilled cheese ..fries..???not much on nutrition..3rd day we ordered them food off of adult menu came out cold. .raw fish....not really good MacDonalds would have been better !!the restaurants very very noisy we think because of the low ceilings and did not like trying to find which dining room we were to eat in different every nite ..hard when you don't know where you are going we sat with a couple from Brazil .a VERY NICE couple with 2 little boys we felt the staff ignored them because they did not speak much English ..we communicated well and enjoyed their company .Did enjoy that they had a soda fountain stations for all no charge. Our balcony stateroom was nice .we did have a good cabin stewart and was good with the kids .She seemed to have more concern with our accident then the head people of the ship.really liked the 2 bathroom idea one has a tub and sink and the other a toilet and sink great for getting ready and with having little one . The kids liked the activities .we did not think the timing of the pirate nite party was good for young kids it was SO LATE 10.30pm. be prepared to wait in line to get pictures with the Disney characters they enjoyed's to buy are very expensive ...wait until your last nite to buy pic. then you can look at them all and pic from there .they do not throw them out until the end of the cruise .the LAB is where the kids hang out the staff were good and did a lot with them .we went to all their events and were thanked for that from the Lab staff ..this was a grandkids holiday we did not sit on chairs in the sun we did everything with them because we were worried something else might happen and not being with them ??? the private island is the best. we purchased blow up rings from the dollar store for the kids instead of renting them for 10.00 a day. they do let you use the life jackets when the kids go snorkling in fact they make them wear them. the kids took their own gear. wonderful time and all food is from the ship. when we arrived home we sent a message to head office telling them about our accident and Eric that delt with our problem said there was not much they could do ...we did not get that WOW FACTOR we went for and our grandson did not really have a good time for 3 days he did not want to talk about it he said he wished he could turn the time back !! he thought it was his fault esp. when we went to the medical office and they wanted money before they would look at him ...we said did you think we wanted this to happen!!!his neck and one side of his face were cut and bruised he was so upset and hurt ...we will NEVER GO ON A DISNEY CRUISE AGAIN and will NOT recommend it to NO-ONE I really feel if it was handled better that we consider to g again. the ship was nice and staff were good .We feel the higher up staff should get some lessons from the people that really make this company work !!

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  • New

Nov 12, 2013

Western caribbean

Had a different impression of Disney magic was all just name! for that company with such prestige this cruise is shame The buffet was bad, the other restaurants were good. The cabin was good, more or less, the bathroom is divided into two, the side where was the toilet was terrible all five days smelled of urine and cleaned it over was that smell .... and the side of the tub, one night we went to take a shower and there was no water,

we call and they fixed but smelled awful pipes. How were the activities? what activities? only two or three shows in the 5 days was good, the other was boring. Night of the Pirates of the Caribbean was a disaster. definitely not what I expected from Disney i'm very disappointed, poor characters, were easier to go to Orlando where you're going to find them all and more daughter is 7 years old and bored in the Oceanner's.was fabulous all the attention of the waiters in restaurants....and to finish we left infected by the flu !!!!was amazing trip!

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  • New

Apr 15, 2013


We enjoyed the cruise but I have some commentary regarding our experience and whether or not it was worth the $$$s. We traveled out of Galveston the 2nd week of March. The good: kid friendly, lots of activities geared toward family and the Oceaneer's Lab also allow parents to take time away from the kids with fun-filled activities Disney Style without worrying. They provide a GPS like tracking system that keeps tabs on the kids. The shows

are amazing, some are Broadway quality. The food was definitely above other cruises we've been on but it's still "cruise food" that being said, we opted for pizza, burgers and fries (I know...junk) versus the buffets. The Ugly: we had the misfortune of being next to a room that was being completely repaired and was awakened at 8:00 a.m. the 2nd day of our cruise to hammering and drilling. It was really LOUD, so much so that when I stepped on the balcony the guests next to us were outside concerned that the ship might be in danger. It turned into quite the fiasco between the numerous calls, insulting misrepresentations of what was actually happening next door (they tried to tell us that it was a safety issue, but when I went in to check it was a complete renovation of the room next door, the crew doing the work advised me that they were getting it ready for the next cruise (vacant room) ) and candidly we didn't get the service we expected from Disney. The back and forth with the management went on for a day and a half all the time we were enduring the constant construction whenever we were in the room. I raised this issue because it wasn't until Day 3 when I took pictures, captured video and showed it to the Director that they begin to properly address the issue and shut down the construction. The Cruise Director contacted me mid-day (3rd day) to apologize and attempted to make good by providing us with a $400 onboard credit, a voucher to Palo's exquisite restaurant onboard, and a bottle of wine, etc. One might say a happy ending but for us it was too far into our vacation and our numerous calls and visits to guest services ignored when they could have stopped it upon 1st notice. The employees lacked empowerment and direction on what should have been a simple solution. Once back on land, we escalated to the main office in Celebration and spoke to one of the Sr. Directors about our experience disappointingly; I was informed that maintenance is routine and mentioned in the contract. I advised that what we experienced was beyond maintenance and more like major construction. We were very optimistic and confident about Cruising with Disney especially in light of the Carnival incidents thinking Disney would certainly have handled things differently. After the incident, we lost confidence in Disney and while we had fun when away from our room, we would not cruise with them. Ever. Again. It's a big difference being at sea versus on land dealing with this type of issue with no option but to stay on board. I'm usually not one to blast companies with such passion but we paid a lot of $$$s and was underwhelmed, frustrated and disappointed with Disney. Hope this helps anyone considering crusing with Disney.

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  • New

Jul 31, 2012


My husband and I took our 5 children on this cruise. They range in age from 6-14. The youngest ones had a great time. The older ones, however, seemed to not have as much to do onboard a most activities are geared for younger children. There is not much to do for adult, which I expected as it is a DISNEY cruise. Having been on cruises before with other cruise lines, I expected MUCH more in the food department. Each dinner seating is rotated

between the 3 different restaurants on the ship. Nothing was terrible - but nothing was memorable either. The breakfasts were lackluster and the lunches were barely edible. Your best bet for lunch is to stay by the pool and get a burger or hot dog from there. Don't waste your time in any of the restaurants for lunch. I honestly expected much better food quality and better selections while on the ship. The stateroom is your typical cruise stateroom. For those who have been on a cruise before, you already know that you shouldn't expect anything large. For first timers, I hope someone forewarns you prior to cruising that you should not expect a large stateroom unless you have booked a suite. That being said, the beds were comfortable and the rooms were clean. The onboard activities were just okay. There are different clubs for different age groups. Our 6 and 8 year old girls were able to go to the oceaneers club. It kept them entertained for only about an hour or so before they wanted to leave. The pre-teen clubs are lacking. They mostly had video games and other games here and there. We have a 12 yo boy, 13 yo girl and 14 yo boy who attended that club. Some of the activities included craft and postcard making. Are you kidding me? What 12 year old boy wants to make postcards? Because of that, our older ones did not spend much time there and ended up spending a fortune in the arcade instead. Considering the amount of $$ you pay to go on this cruise, I would expect that children of ALL ages would be entertained. Warning - characters are available at designated times and areas on the ships. You better get there early and prepare to wait on line to meet them. Castaway Cay was really nice. It's relaxing. The ship ports right on the island and there are trams to take you to and from the different sections. There were plenty of lounge chairs on the beach. My advice? Spend $6 for a raft and just relax on the island. Trust me you will need it in order to prepare for your day at the parks. Nassau - We booked the Atlantis beach day. I was unimpressed to say the least. It's expensive and not worth the money. My problem was not with the resort - the resort is beautiful and I've actually stayed there on a separate occasion (which is why I booked this excursion in the first place). It's advertised that you get a 25 minute tour, are able to explore the beach and aquariums and that lunch is provided. The 25 minute tour was nothing more than the walk from the bus to the beach...."Here is the hospitality desk, here are the lockers, etc." They take you to a separate section of the beach where chairs are scarce. You are on your own in finding the aquarium and lunch is SRO, as tables are scarce as well. Save your money. Do something else. Did the kids have a good time? Most of them. (After all, we did this for them - not for us). Would I do it again? Never.

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