Disney Magic Cruise Ship

September 4, 2012 by MickeyTravels


Okay, so I’d be a mouse-eared liar if I didn’t admit how excited Jenn and I were to tour the Disney Magic Cruise Ship this month. It’s in New York for the final itineraries to Canada and the New England Coasts and we were lucky enough to be invited to tour with other travel professionals. Knowing that the Magic is the number one rated ship in the world, and with the legendary “Disney Difference” in hand, we expected to be blown away by the ship from the moment we stepped onboard.

We were SO not disappointed!

First things first, which means we need to actually back up to BEFORE the ship first.  Jenn and I were kindly chauffered to the port in New York by my awesome brother (he’s a Jersey-ite, so he navigates the streets of Manhattan WAY better than these Pittsburgh girls would’ve). The Disney Magic cruise ship was sharing an entry with another cruise line, and when we first entered the terminal it was easy to spot where we wanted to be — there were white Mickey gloves waving all over the place to let travellers know which way to go. Seriously, for every one “other” employee, there were at least four or five Disney employees. In no time at all we were checked in for our cruise tour and seated in the well-organized, spacious lounge area. There were some great photo opps around for families to take advantage of while they were waiting to board on that day’s cruise, and spirits seemed high. The check-in line moved smoothly and soon we were surrounded by happy, friendly people who couldn’t wait to get onboard. Lucky for us, being tour visitors, we were first.

stateroom on ship

The main lobby, which is where everyone enters the ship, was lined with smiling ship employees who welcomed us all as we boarded. We had a FANTASTIC tour guide who told us that we were going to check out the staterooms first, then move on to dining and recreational facilities. So up we went to the higher decks to check out some truly amazing staterooms. Starting with the crown jewel of staterooms, the Roy O. Disney suite.  In one word? I can’t even try. Beautiful, luxurious, plush, opulent — I could go on but there’s so much more to talk about!

All in all, the suite has a master bedroom (that’s it center above with a Castaway Club gift waiting for the lucky guests staying in this kind of style all week), a second bedroom with two twin beds, a living room, a dining room  and two well-appointed bathrooms. The master bath had a jetted tub and a circular shower.

I can truly say that I wasn’t disappointed by any of the rooms of the Disney Magic cruise ship — and we saw everything from the largest to the smallest on the ship. The smallest one? Truthfully, I found it surprisingly spacious. For a family of four, the beds were roomy, easy to adjust in the cases where they folded down, and the bathrooms being split as they are is a definite advantage (by “split” I’m referring to Disney’s design that places the vanity, toilet and sink in one small room, with the tub/shower in the other). The lack of porthole was noticeable but certainly not a dealbreaker for me. The Oceanview Rooms with portholes were just as nice. Now, on to the verandah rooms. If I were pressed to give one feature that failed to impress (and I hate to say anything less than favorable about this ship), I would have to go with the verandahs. They were TINY. As in, when I sat down on one of the chairs, my knees practically touched the railing. Now having said that, I also have to admit that I was sitting in port — had we been out on the ocean with the air blowing our hair back and the sting of saltwater on our smiling faces, I may have felt that small space would be worth the extra money that it tacks onto the total. But leading up to my tour, I wouldn’t have wanted to sail without some sort of window at the very least and I’d have preferred the verandah — now, I wouldn’t care for the verandah necessarily, and an inside stateroom would be much more appealing.

On to the recreational facilities (and WOW, is this boat packed with them!). We saw all three pools, the top deck sports area, the kid-focused clubs, the spa/fitness center, the movie theater, the Broadway-style theater — there is truly something for everyone.

Broadway theater

Chairs line each of the decks, some facing out toward the ocean and some facing in toward the pool activities, but the chairs are plentiful. Staff place new towels on each chair as soon as it’s vacated, so that no one ever has to search for a dry one when getting out of the pool.

The spa…oh, the spa.  How I imagine my next cruise experience, visiting that beautiful place.   Wrapped in thick terry-cloth robe. Having just had a scrub, a full-body massage, a seaweed wrap…sigh. Steam room. Tea service. Private verandahs to sit and reflect on your awesome cruise. Again…sigh. Mani-pedis? Yes, please. Please???

For those who still want to exercise on the ship, the Disney Magic cruise ship has given you a fantastic space to do so in by way of their state of the art fitness center. If I’ve gotta use the ellipitical machine, why not stare out at miles and miles of blue ocean? There are bundles of towels everywhere to wipe down with, and bottled water aplenty. Even baskets of fruit to keep up one’s energy. This is where I should mention that both of the above facilities are exclusively for guests ages 18 and over. But let’s face it, most little ones would rather be at the Mickey Pool with the slide (far right) in my opinion. And speaking of kids…

There are SO many options for them! Disney Cruise Line, unlike many of the other cruise lines, doesn’t charge for their children’s programs (with the exception of the littlest little ones at Flounder’s Reef Nursery, where children ages infant to two years). There’s the Oceaneer’s Club for kids ages 3-12 that offers all kinds of experiences: Jump Up! exercise and movement, In the Spotlight for kids with stage presence, Solve It! problem and solution activities, Create and Invent for the more artistic…there’s so much more, and again, that’s just for ages 3-12. Kids ages 11-14 are also welcome at Edge, an interactive club for gamers, movie lovers and crafters alike — all in a cool ship’s bridge inspired atmosphere. Finally, for the 14-17 year old set, there’s Vibe, a strictly “mature teen” zone where they can kick back and relax by way of video games, karaoke, games and more.

family friendly activities

There are Family Friendly activities everywhere, too: an interactive Disney Trivia game in one of the studio areas (or just be part of the live audience), the All-Star dance party that takes place nightly, character greetings, karaoke, walking tours, an arcade, pin trading seminars and the theaters are just some of the options for every age. Like the spa and fitness center, though, there are adult-only zones.

The movie theater? I’d have picked out an oversized, plush-lined seat, ordered my popcorn and stayed if allowed because my feet were getting sore from covering every inch of the ship. Now Showing posters highlighted some current favorites (The Avengers, Brave) across from the shopping area (sadly, we were unable to partake in the shopping experience because boats cannot open their shops in port) that included the usual gifts shops, a liquor store, and a boutique or two. We walked through a photo gallery, where photos taken throughout the week can be purchased singly or in packages (good thinking!).

So finally…here’s the part everyone loves. Dining! If you’ve ever experienced Disney’s dining through a Walt Disney World, DIsneyland or Disney Cruise Line restaurant, you know where I’m coming from. We had high expctations, and once again, Jenn and I were not disappointed. First up was Palo, the adults only restaurant that just emenates exclusivity. From the meticulous place settings, candlelit booths, hand-arranged flowers and on site wine room (not to mention the menues being placed as we circulated), it was easy to get the urge to just quietly seat ourselves and hope the chefs would take mercy on us.

But I’m glad we did move on because next up was Animator’s Palate: coolest family restaurant EVER! Love it! We were able to “experience” it despite the fact we weren’t there full the full effects of a seated dinner and it was something everyone in the family can enjoy. The menu looked awesome too. Also we saw Lumiere’s (painstakingly detailed for even the biggest Beauty and the Beast fan), Topsider’s Buffet (the image you get when someone says “ship buffet”? Multiply that by five), all the “quick” options, before we were led in to Parrot Cay for a well-deserved rest and discussion of everything we’d seen so far. Parrot Cay is another buffet, and we had our choices of the full smorgasboard. Staples like shrimp cocktail and carving stations were flanked by items I’d never heard of (Coconut Soup? Absolutely scrumptious!), there was a separate kids’ buffet (yes, we tried the mac and cheese; yes, it was delectable), a separate dessert bar (oh. my. YUM.) and stations for breads, fruits, and pastas. In case, you know, the other three thousand menu choices aren’t enough.

Animator’s Palate

The service was, as always, five-star. Water glasses and soft drinks were topped off almost as we drank from them. A gentleman at our table was asked by the server if he didn’t care for the dessert options (as IF!) and when the guest replied that he was diabetic he was presented with a plate of sugar free desserts.

As we were rubbing our bellies and wrapping up our travel professional “shop talk”, the first families to have been welcomed aboard were flooding into the restaurant and it was impossible to not notice their excitement. We were thanked profusely by staff and Disney personnel as they led us back to the main lobby to disembark, but there was a surprisingly touching moment waiting for us there. As each family or group boards the Disney Magic cruise ship, their photo is taken and then they are announced by loudspeaker as they cross the lobby. Music is playing, characters were rocking out on the balconies, and it truly brought tears to my eyes. Well done once again, Disney.

Back on land, though, we were greeted by something less than perfect. We entered the terminal, and to the right was Disney Cruise Line: a near empty client lounge, stacks of neatly organized itineraries for next year, and dozens of smiling, waving employees. But to the left? Chaos at the other cruise line’s disembarkation desks. A line literally wove around the terminal and then out the doors, where even more passengers were sitting in the heat. Jenn and I hurried past, exchanging a look of horror. What a way to begin your family’s vacation!

So to sum up that experience in a single word? How to express the excitement in the air, the attention to detail that went into the ship’s design and decor, the array of activities and food options available to travellers all while managing to keep things moving without missing a beat? So hard to say how proud I was to be part of the whole Disney label. How eager I was to go home and tell my clients all about the ship I’d just seen. And maybe plan a cruise for us for next year…

Magic? Well said, Disney. Magic indeed.

Contact me to learn more about the Disney Magic cruise ship and all about my FREE Disney vacation planning services!

Nicole Courson
Authorized Disney Travel Planner
“Making Magic One Vacation at a Time…”

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