Compare Disney Cruise ships

Allure of the Seas

In the spring of 2014, Don and I sailed on a 4-night Disney Magic cruise to the Bahamas, and then in the summer of 2014 we took our kids with us on a 7-night Disney Wonder cruise to Alaska and another 4-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream. We were excited to see the reimagined Disney Magic and curious how the now “classic” Disney Wonder would compare. These two ships were the very first Disney Cruise Line ships and are almost identical in their layout. Both have 875 staterooms (2, 400 passengers maximum). The Disney Dream and Fantasy are newer and larger: two decks taller than the Magic and Wonder, with 1, 250 staterooms (4, 000 passengers maximum). We wondered how much bigger the Dream would feel when compared to the smaller ships.

Naturally, all the Disney cruise ships have a lot in common – no casinos, great childcare, lots of character appearances, and a very kid-friendly crew. But we were curious if there would be any significant differences beyond the décor, or if we would have a preference for one ship over another.

What’s new and different on the Disney Magic?

The Magic is the oldest ship in the fleet. It first sailed in July 1998, but in 2013 it went into drydock to do a complete “reimagining, ” including big changes in pretty much every area. Let’s start with the staterooms – the Disney Magic now has more adjoining staterooms and more verandahs that have a removable divider, allowing you to create one large verandah for your entire group. Both of those features definitely make it easier to hang out when your family or group takes up 2 staterooms. A few other subtle, but definite improvements are: slightly taller bed frames, so you can more easily slide your suitcase underneath, and regular hairdryers. The old built-in hairdryers on the Wonder were a bit harder to manage – they were shaped like the long thin nozzle on a vacuum cleaner and I found it awkward to manipulate. Although between walking on the windy decks and swimming in the pool, my hair tended toward a more windblown look anyway!

The top deck now has a new thrill slide called the AquaDunk, which is much shorter and simpler than the similarly-named AquaDuck on the Dream & Fantasy. The AquaDunk is a fast body slide, with a short nearly vertical section, a brief spiral, and that’s it. It’s a nice addition, but not nearly as long as the AquaDuck and not nearly as friendly to the thrill-challenged like me. The Magic also added a kid’s water play area with a variety of interactive spouts, showers, buckets, and water squirters for kids of all ages. The main Mickey water slide in the kid’s section has been made longer and fancier, and can now handle pretty much any size guest, so it’s open to larger kids and parents.

What about the children’s areas below decks? Our two boys are teenagers, so we didn’t have much experience with the Oceaneer Club or the Oceaneer Lab on these cruises. We took a look during the open house hours and it was clear that more magical touches had been added on the Disney Magic. The play areas had more theming and more interactive elements. The Disney Magic’s Oceaneer Club now has the Marvel Avengers Academy where kids get superhero training from Captain America, an area called Andy’s Room that makes kids feel like they’re toy-sized and playing on Andy’s bed, and a Tinkerbell-themed dress up area called Pixie Hollow. And yes, parents have a chance to join in the fun too, but only during open house hours. The Disney Magic has also added more automated handwashers for kids to use as they enter and leave the child care areas.

The three main restaurants on the Disney Magic (Carioca’s, Lumiere’s and Animator’s Palate) and the adults-only area also have new décor. We really liked the dark blue and silver décor in the adults-only area. It felt special and more grown up the minute you entered that part of the ship, from the hallway to the 3 lounges. Animator’s Palate has a new participatory show – Drawn to Magic. In addition to adding more screens, everyone gets to create an animated figure that eventually becomes part of the show. Your servers will let you know which screen to keep an eye on so you can see your creation come to life.

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