We spent four nights on the Disney Wish, the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, so we could give you the inside scoop on our experience. While we found the Wish to be undeniably beautiful with all the hallmarks of Disney magic, some opening hiccups remain, and they’re worth unpacking.
Join us as we share the best (and worst) of our Disney Wish sailing experience.
The Wish sails on alternating three and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida. The ship is packed with all the pixie dust you would expect, including dozens of new, exciting, and unexpected surprises that can only be found on the Wish.
The check-in has been streamlined, too. You show your passport and reservation at the security checkpoint, which eliminates the need to queue at the counters in the cruise terminal. Lanyards and Keys to the World are placed inside staterooms, too. We enjoyed these changes as they saved us time and allowed us to relax sooner.
When boarding the ship, families are welcomed aboard by name and ushered into The Grand Hall, which is called the Atrium on other ships. The three-story space, based on rococo and baroque styles, features touches from Cinderella. These include her lost glass slipper, a nearly six foot gold patina statue of her likeness (with mice peeking out beneath the folds of her dress), and a beautifully themed chandelier.
In these first moments, the magic begins with First Wish. Guests are provided a free keepsake, a transparent blue wishing wand, and meet new Disney characters, Lady Lily (named for Walt Disney’s wife) and Lord Leopold.
Disney Wish Staterooms
Many small touches have been upgraded, from the design of cabin door number placards to the hangers, which are now in the shape of a pumpkin carriage, a seashell, and an owl.
The Wish has more concierge offerings than ever before, with 53 concierge staterooms and 23 suites. The concierge lounge is triple-sized and includes an outdoor space with whirlpools and a wading pool.
Inside the room, the refrigerator is now a drawer refrigerator, which is much easier to reach in and grab drinks and snacks from. In staterooms that have an upper berth, a delightful starry ceiling is revealed when the bed is pulled down.
The ship has a distinct theme of enchantment that runs through every deck with a color scheme and vibe that are decidedly different from Disney’s Dream, Fantasy, Magic, and Wonder ships. The Wish is Disney’s largest ship in its fleet and is the first of its Triton class ships.
There are 15 decks; to access each, you’ll have to look past the mid-ship as there aren’t elevator banks. Once you reach the elevators, there is no need to press the buttons—just hover your finger over the floor number to watch it illuminate as if by magic.
The halls and staterooms are decked out with 4,457 pieces of art, including some interactive elements that are part of the Disney Uncharted Adventure (more about that later). Much of the art is made by local artists and features Disney characters that are more inclusive or presented with a twist. For example, Nikkolas Smith, a former Imagineer, depicts several versions of Cinderella trying to reach a beautiful, glittery castle in the distance.
Instead of Cabanas, the Wish’s buffet is called Marceline Market, named after Walt Disney’s early childhood hometown in Missouri. It’s fashioned as a food hall with food stalls run by local proprietors, but it honestly just looks like a really nice buffet.
Outside, by the pool, is the Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods, inspired by the seaside boardwalk setting in Mickey Mouse animated shorts. There are five venues serving pizza, chicken fingers, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft serve, and, for the first time on a Disney ship, barbeque at Mickey’s Smokestack Barbecue and Mexican-inspired fare at Donald’s Cantina.
Disney’s rotational dining has a trio of all-new restaurants: Arendelle, Disney’s first “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience, Worlds of Marvel, the world’s first Marvel cinematic dining adventure, and 1923, a traditional at-sea restaurant that harkens to the golden age of Hollywood.
Arendelle is an engaging (and loud!) dining experience that takes place where Frozen 2 leaves off with Queen Anna and Kristoff’s royal engagement party hosted by Wandering Oaken and his “Hearty Party Planning Service…and Sauna.” The show, a mix of singing, dancing, and musical performance by Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Oaken, is presented in theater-in-the-round style. It’s important to note that viewing the show can be challenging if you’re seated with your back to the stage. As diners enjoy the Nordic-style menu, the quintet walks around between sets to greet diners, but they don’t stick around long enough to take photos with guests, even if you ask. Like other restaurants and the rest of the ship, there are intricate details like a small wooden box with blue gloves, a snow globe Elsa made as a child, and a picture of Anna and her family having a picnic in front of a building that is the same as the Norway pavilion in EPCOT.
Worlds of Marvel includes an interactive video of Ant-Man and the Wasp called “Avengers: Quantum Encounter.” The duo is engaged in an Avengers technology showcase where diners help them enlarge and shrink items by pushing buttons on Pym Tech’s Quantum Cores on each table. Of course, there are some troubles along the way, and, ultimately, the Avengers and diners save the day.
The third restaurant in the rotation is 1923 (the only non-theatrical dining option), named for the year The Walt Disney Company was founded. There are two separate dining rooms named after Walt Disney and his brother Roy. Both dining rooms are filled with 1,000-plus animation sketches and props, which follow the journey of sketch to screen. Pause at the mural between the two entrances to admire the animated features, including a Disney ship that floats by!
As with other ships, there is premier, adults-only dining, including an outpost of Palo Steakhouse plus Enchanté, which serves two menus ($125 and $195) created by three-Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement, who has created menus for Remy.
Several times, we asked about items on the food or drink menu at restaurants, bars, and lounges, and the staff could not answer our questions about ingredients, taste, or presentation. At Arendelle, the souvenir sipper glasses for the specialty drinks were unavailable, and no one had any idea what they looked like. The cast member said, “We have actually never seen the glasses.”
Dreamy Disney Drinks
Unlike the other Disney ships, the adult fun isn’t clustered in one place. The bars and lounges are all placed throughout the ship. Before purchasing any drinks, be sure to double-check that the advertised drink is what you will get. We received a creamy passion fruit flavored drink at Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, but the word passion fruit didn’t appear anywhere on the menu. Likewise, the Dole Whip drink at Weezy’s Freezies is not the Dole Whip you expect, either. Despite the photo atop the bar showing swirls of vanilla soft serve floating on pineapple juice, what you get has no ice cream. It’s nothing more than a pineapple slushie from a machine for $7.08 and an apology—if you press for one. Throughout the ship, adjacent to cool water taps, is fizzy water on tap. It’s a delight to have a choice between still and sparkling water. We appreciated the touch.
Arguably the most impressive bar is the aforementioned Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge. Guests board a luxurious yacht-class spaceship and are immersed in an experience that mimics roving around the Star Wars universe with front-row views out a virtual portal. Sip cocktails while jumping through hyperspace through different parts of the galaxy. Every seven minutes or so, you’ll feel a rumble in your seat, and the view of the windows will change. The bar’s most epic drink is the $5,000 Kaiburr Crystal, a quartet of whiskey, gin, port, and one other spirit, plus a voucher to California’s Skywalker Ranch!
Disney’s Oceaneer Club, a supervised space for children aged 3-12, has many special features, including a slide for an entrance and automated hand washing stations (think: a car wash for your hands).
Hook’s Barbery, a barbershop based on Captain Hook’s private quarters aboard the Jolly Roger in Peter Pan, offers shaves and a hidden bar serving bourbon, whiskey, or rum during treatments.
UnTangled is a high-end salon for hair and nail treatments that, unlike other ships, is in a separate area from the spa. It’s based on Rapunzel, the Disney Princess who adorns the stern of the Wish.
In addition to the Bippity Boppity Boutique adding VIP suites and accessible rooms, the fairy godmothers-in-training offer new makeovers, including Captain Minnie Mouse, Captain Mickey Mouse, or a new Ariel look.
Instead of one large movie theater, the ship has two: the Cheshire Cat-inspired Wonderland Cinema and the Tinker Bell-inspired Never Land Cinema.
There are far more pools, which are spread out, and deck space than any other Disney ship. On deck 13, there’s the next generation of the water coaster AquaDuck, which Disney describes as the first Disney attraction at sea. AquaMouse features two-seater rafts that propel riders along 760 feet of clear tubing. Along the way, riders enjoy one of two experiences that alternate each day and include a new Mickey short and special water blasters that leave riders soaked. It’s very similar to AquaDuck and worth a ride, but we’re not sure it deserves the distinction as an entirely new attraction.
Senses Spa on the port side offers The Rainforest with showers, hammam, and sauna, and an addition of an ice room and an outdoor deck with two whirlpools and plenty of comfy daybeds and loungers. Amenities like the showers and heated loungers worked (on other ships, they are often hit-or-miss), but the swings with warm water for your feet in the center of the space are weird. The swings don’t swing because they are too close to a wall, and the floor feels like a floor that needs to be mopped. The outdoor space lacks an ocean view, and cruisers can peer into the space at any time. The Rainforest also ran out of towels on a few occasions.
Our first stop on the ship was to the spa to purchase The Rainforest passes. We were told that they were only selling passes for the duration of the cruise for $225 plus tax. They didn’t tell us that there were two prices: one for the pass only ($195.88) and one for the pass with two scrubs. We were only quoted the higher price. We found out about the lower price on the last day, and guest services refused to refund our money. Be very careful when visiting the spa. They are well-versed in upselling. Make sure to request an itemized receipt and review it carefully before signing. Also, sometimes they sell day passes if they aren’t at capacity.
Disney has created multidimensional experiences underneath the surface of digital screens, paintings, and fixtures with Disney Uncharted Adventure, an interactive adventure that can be accessed via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app and guests’ mobile phones. There are multiple versions of the game, but the premise is that the wishing star that guides the ship has been fragmented, and the pieces have dispersed to far-flung Disney lands. Players must help navigate the ship to make the Disney universe right again. The experience ends on the last night with a communal finale in Luna, a lounge inspired by London’s Globe theater and named for the Disney short, La Luna.
The fireworks off the ship’s starboard side on Pirate Night are still a fantastic spectacle, but the show has changed, focusing on a band of scallywags who really get the revelry going.
Who doesn’t love a kiss goodnight? Guests can flock to The Grand Hall on the last night of the cruise for a ‘kiss’ goodnight as the grand chandelier changes color and characters bid goodnight.
Overall, the staff provides legendary service that guests have come to know and expect from a ship that is amenity-rich and well maintained. The ship (and its crew) are still working on polishing the magic, but we still can’t wait to return.
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