My family is 100% Disney Cruise Line fans. We recently had the opportunity to sail on the line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish. Because it’s the first new ship in 10 years, there were bound to be some changes. If you’ve already sailed on a DCL ship in the past and loved it, I’m here to share what you can expect to be similar and very different on the Wish. And if you’ve never sailed with Disney, I hope you’ll want to now!
Disney Cruise Line began sailing in 1998 with the introduction of the Magic, closely followed in 1999 by the Wonder. The Dream first sailed in 2011 and the Fantasy in 2012. The ships boast a classic nautical aesthetic, inside and out. From their navy hulls to their beautiful atriums to their lido decks, each ship has a heartbeat that you can feel once you’re onboard. The Wish shares its sister ships’ beauty but definitely has its own feel, which will no doubt continue to grow and develop over time.
What Your Kids Will Love about the Disney Wish
There are so many new things for your kids to enjoy, as well as favorites carried over from the other ships. The kids’ clubs are back with Marvel, Star Wars and Frozen themed play spaces in the Oceaneer Club (ages 3-12). This space also includes an Imagineering lab and an indoor playground.
For your tween traveler (ages 11-14), Edge is styled like a modern loft, with a snack bar, TVs and video game consoles. Teens have the best view on the ship when they enter Vibe (ages 14-17). With floor to ceiling windows looking out on the ocean, the club has foosball, video games, snacks and a fancy coffee machine.
New to the Wish is the Hero Zone, an indoor area that includes a basketball court, foosball tables and air hockey. At several points during the cruise, the court is taken over by a huge Incredibles themed obstacle course, open to kids and adults. These events are staffed so the line moves quickly and things stay safe.
They’ll also love the Aqua Mouse! This waterslide takes you on a thrilling ride around the ship, high above the ocean. But y’all, the line is super long all the time so if it’s important to you, just get in line. Speaking of water fun, there are SIX family pools onboard and a Toy Story themed splash pad for younger children.
What You’ll Love About the Disney Wish
If you’re looking to balance family time with adults-only experiences, the Wish has you covered. There are several adults-only clubs, cafes and pools onboard where you can unwind, as well as a salon, barber shop and Senses spa. Senses is much larger than its predecessors, as is the much-loved Rainforest Room, which has been extended to include outdoor spaces.
The Wish also boasts Palo and Enchanté, two adults-only restaurants that require an additional cost. However, the cuisine and atmosphere are worth so much more than the nominal fee charged. I highly recommend both venues for those looking to actually eat hot food in a beautiful space while being absolutely doted on by the service team.
Onboard shopping will look different to DCL veterans. While the earlier ships have two main stores selling Disney merchandise, the Wish has one, Mickey’s Mainsail. I found the shop to be overly crowded at most points in the day, with very long lines; however, the selection of merchandise was plentiful. There are also luxury shopping experiences onboard offering handbags, watches and jewelry.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the most important aspect of a Disney cruise and that is the level of service you’ll receive. Having sailed with other lines, there is simply no comparison. Every interaction our family had with the staff (cast members), from our dining service team, to our stateroom host, photographers, merchandising staff and kids club staff were incredibly welcoming, warm and skilled.
Where You’ll Stay
Having stayed in several stateroom types, I can vouch for accommodations onboard the Wish being every bit as well-appointed and beautiful as the other ships. My son loves sleeping in the bed that is lowered from the ceiling each evening. My husband and I appreciated the softer mattresses and high-quality linens. You’ll arrive back to your room each evening, welcomed by a towel animal and chocolates… always a highlight!
Bathrooms in standard staterooms are split, with a toilet and sink in one room and a sink and shower/tub combo in the other. DCL has added lighting along the floor of the bathroom, making it easy for kids to use during the night. There’s a drawer-style fridge in each room but it doesn’t keep things very cold, if you need a reliable way to keep medication or breast milk chilled.
What You’ll Eat
DCL is known for their rotational dining service, allowing guests to dine in each of the ship’s 3 main dining rooms at least once. On the Wish, all of the dining rooms are new.
Arendelle offers a Scandinavian-inspired menu and boasts a stage show during dinner that will absolutely delight any Frozen fan in your sailing party.
Named for the year that brothers Walt and Roy Disney founded the company, 1923 showcases the glamour and elegance of Los Angeles in the early 20th century. Split into two dining rooms (named for Walt and Roy), the space is decorated with so much Disney memorabilia that you could easily spend hours combing through it.
The Worlds of Marvel offers a high-tech dining experience featuring an appearance on screen and in person by Ant Man and The Wasp. I should mention that the Pym Tech Quantum Core that sits on each table does not in fact, shrink or enlarge food, as many were led to believe in early promotional videos for the Wish. My son is old enough that he understood nothing amazing was about to happen but if you have younger kids, you might want to temper their expectations.
Cabanas has been restyled as the Marceline Market, named after the Disney brother’s hometown in Missouri. Similar to Cabanas, food is served buffet style on two sides of the restaurant, with sections dedicated to kid-friendly foods, American dishes, international flavors, carved meats, desserts, soups/salads, seafood and more.
Fast service food has also been redesigned as the Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods. Located on the Deck 11, this area offers BBQ, burgers, cantina bowls and wraps, pizza and the soft serve ice cream DCL is known for.
What You’ll Do Together
The Wish has so much for families to do, whether it’s catching a new release in one of the two movie theaters, watching a world class musical production, competing in trivia, performing karaoke or zipping through the Aqua Mouse’s twists and turns. You’ll also delight in a visit to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, where you can expect crystal clear waters and white sand. Excursions are plentiful but you’ll have just as much fun under an umbrella on the sand.
I know you’ll absolutely love your time aboard any Disney ship… I WISH your family a DREAM sailing, full of FANTASY, MAGIC and WONDER!