Disney Magic

Disney Cruise Line

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The Verdict

The only ships on the planet that successfully re-create the grandeur of the classic transatlantic liners, albeit in a modern, Disney-fied way.

Size (in tons) 83000
Number of Cabins 877
Number of Cabins with Verandas 378
Number of Passengers 1754
Number of Crew 950
Passenger/Crew Ratio 1.8 to 1
Year Built 1998
Last Major Refurbishment 2008
Cabin Comfort & Amenities 5.0
Ship Cleanliness & Maintainence 5.0
Public Comfort/Space 4.0
Dining Options 4.5
Children's Facilities 5.0
Decor 5.0
Gym & Spa Facilities 3.0
Enjoyment 5.0
Sister Ships Wonder


Typical Per Diems: $115-$175

Magic sails the Caribbean from Port Canaveral (fall, winter).

Wonder sails the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles (fall, winter).

These long, proud-looking ships carry 1,754 passengers at the rate of two per cabin, but because Disney is a family company and its ships were built expressly to carry three, four, and five people in virtually every cabin, the ship could theoretically carry a whopping 3,325 passengers. Although numbers rarely reach that high, Hotel Director Mike Mahendran told Heidi they rarely carry fewer than 2,500 passengers. Though service is a high point of a Disney cruise, these high numbers mean certain areas of the ship will feel crowded at times, namely the kids' pool area, the buffet restaurants, and the photo gallery and shops after dinner. Overall, though, the ships are well laid out and frequently updated and upgraded.


The Disney ships have the most family-friendly cabins at sea, with standard accommodations equivalent to the suites or demisuites on most ships -- they're about 25% larger than the industry standard (insides 184-214 sq. ft., outsides a roomy 226-268 sq. ft.). All of the 877 cabins have at least a sitting area with a sofa bed to sleep families of three (or four if you put two small children on the sofa bed). Some cabins also have one or two pull-down bunks to sleep families of four or five. Nearly half have private verandas. One-bedroom suites have private verandas and sleep four or five comfortably; two-bedroom suites sleep seven. Outside cabins that don't have verandas have jumbo-size porthole windows. Note: Due to the beds being lower to the ground than on most other ships, you may not be able to stow your suitcases underneath and will have to resort to taking up precious closet space with luggage.

The decor is virtually identical from cabin to cabin, combining modern design with nostalgic ocean-liner elements such as a steamer-trunk armoire for kids, globe- and telescope-shaped lamps, map designs on the bedspreads, and a framed black-and-white 1930s shot of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney aboard the fabled ocean liner Rex. Warm wood tones predominate, with Art Deco touches in the metal and glass fittings and light fixtures. The majority of cabins have two bathrooms -- a sink and toilet in one and a shower/tub combo and a sink in the other (both of them compact, though with ample shelf space). This is something you won't find in any other standard cabin industrywide, and it's a great boon for families. All cabins have a minifridge (empty), hair dryer, safe, TV, tub/shower combo, sitting area, and lots of storage space. The high-quality H2O bathroom toiletries are a perk, especially the thick and creamy moisturizer and the tingly shower gel.

One-bedroom suites are done up with wood veneer in a definite deco mood. Sliding frosted-glass French doors divide the living room from the bedroom, which has a large-screen TV, queen-size bed (which can be split to make two twins), chair and ottoman, dressing room, makeup table, and whirlpool tub in the bathroom. A second guest bathroom is located off the living room, which also has a bar and a queen-size sofa bed. The veranda extends the length of both rooms. Two-bedroom and Royal suites are also available.

Sixteen cabins are fitted for wheelchair users.

Dining Options

Disney's unique rotation dining setup has guests sampling three different restaurants at dinner over the course of their cruise, with an adults-only specialty restaurant also available, by reservation only"). At breakfast and lunch, the buffet-style spread in Magic's Topsider and Wonder's Beach Blanket restaurants has deli meats, cheeses, and rice and vegetable dishes, as well as a carving station, a salad bar, and a dessert table with yummy chocolate chip cookies. Though the culinary offerings are fine, the layout and tiny size of the place are not. During the morning rush, for example, it's tough to squeeze through the place, let alone with kids and a tray full of breakfast. Be prepared to dine elsewhere if the place is packed.

Options for afternoon noshing poolside include Pinocchio's Pizzeria; Pluto's Dog House for hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, fries, and more; and Goofy's Galley for wraps, fruit, and ice cream. There's 24-hour room service from a limited menu, but no midnight buffet unless you count the spread at the evening deck party held once per cruise and the dessert buffet presented once on 7-night itineraries. Instead, hors d'oeuvres are served to passengers in and around the bars at about midnight.

Public Areas

Both ships have several theaters and lounges, including an adults-only area with three separate venues: a piano/jazz lounge, disco, and sports-pub-cum-karaoke bar. There's also a family-oriented entertainment lounge called Studio Sea for game shows, karaoke, and dancing; the Promenade Lounge for classic pop music in the evenings; and a 24-hour Internet cafe. The Cove Café is a comfy place for gourmet coffees (for a price) or cocktails in a relaxed setting with books, magazines, Internet stations, Wi-Fi access, and TVs. A 270-seat cinema shows mostly recent-release Disney movies; both ships have a jumbo 336-square-foot screen attached to the forward funnel outside on Deck 9, which shows classic Disney animated films and other stuff. The children's facilities, as you'd expect, are the largest of any ship at sea.

Throughout, both ships have some of the best artwork at sea, owing to Disney's vast archive of animation cels, production sketches, costume studies, and inspirational artwork, featuring characters we've all grown up with. Other art -- notably the Disney Cruise Line Seaworthy Facts near the photo shop and A-to-Z of seagoing terms near the theater -- was created specifically for the ships and gets a big, big thumbs-up. Canned music pumped into the public areas and corridors tends toward big-band music and crooner tunes or surf-type pop.

Pool, Fitness & Spa Facilities

The Pool Deck of each ship has three pools: Mickey's Kids' Pool, shaped like the mouse's big-eared head, with a great big, white-gloved Mickey hand holding up a snaking yellow slide (this pool can get cr-o-o-o-w-ded!); Goofy's Family Pool, where adults and children can mingle; and the Quiet Cove Adult Pool, with whirlpools, gurgling waterfalls, a teak deck and lounge chairs with plush cushions, a poolside bar, and a coffee spot called Cove Café. On sunny days, the kids' pool will feel like a sardine can -- watch those cannon balls! A consolation prize for families with young children, adjacent is a splash pool with circulating water for diaper-wearing babies and toddlers. It's the only one at sea, as the official party line across the board is no diaper-wearing children (and that includes pull-ups and swim diapers) are allowed in any pool, wading or adult, for hygiene reasons. On both ships, there is now a new larger toddler pool that sports interactive fountains and splash zones.

Just beyond the adult pool area at the stern is a spa and gym. The Steiner-managed Vista Spa & Salon is impressive, with attractive tiled treatment rooms and a thermal suite with a sauna, steam room, misting shower, and heated contoured tile chaise longues. Among the many treatments is a selection geared to teens. Both ships' spas have been remodeled and three spa villas were added. Each one is an indoor treatment suite that's connected to a private outdoor veranda with a personal hot tub, an open-air shower, and a chaise longue. Sounds great, yes, but renting one isn't cheap! They can be reserved for one person or couples. A 50-minute massage for one in a spa villa, for example, is $199 and it includes 55 more minutes in the villa to enjoy tea, a soak in the hot tub, and what Disney calls a "foot bathing ceremony." (The couples' version of this villa treatment is $449 per couple and includes a pair of 50-min. massages and 70 min. to loll about the villa afterward.) Both ships have an outdoor Sports Deck with basketball and paddle tennis. There is also shuffleboard and Ping-Pong, and joggers and walkers can circuit the Promenade Deck, which is generally unobstructed (though the forward, enclosed section may be closed off when the ship is arriving and departing port because it's adjacent to the anchor mechanisms).