The Disney Wish, the newest ship to join the Disney Cruise Line family, is a bucket list favorite.
I’ve never been a fan of cruises. I don’t like long lines and crowds. I’m not a fan of feeling like I'm doing the same activities every day. I don't like bland foods served buffet style, and I’m slightly prone to seasickness. Long story short, I avoid cruises at all costs.
But, when Disney announced the launch of the Disney Wish, touting it as the perfect cruise for the entire family, I was intrigued. Prior to the big announcement, my friends and family members had nothing but good experiences with Disney cruise lines. “Disney cruises aren’t like typical cruises,” they would say. “It’s great for parents. Just drop off your kids at the kids club and do what you want!”
Six months later, the CDC finally dropped its cruise health travel warning notice after two years of telling travelers cruises aren’t safe, and I was completely sold. I packed my bags and was ready to go!
Below, I dish on my experience on the Disney Wish with my husband, 3-year-old daughter, Campbell, and 5-year-old son, Stephen. Here’s why it’s the ultimate destination for every family:
Where to Eat
The Disney Wish offers a host of dining options. From upscale buffet-style meals (note: crab legs and grilled shrimp are regularly available) to magical themed-dinners for kids of all ages. My favorite is Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure which is a Frozen-themed theatrical dining experience that brings the world of Arendelle to life through live entertainment. Campbell couldn’t get over Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf walking around as she enjoyed her pasta, and even Stephen, who isn’t always a Frozen-lover, was into the songs and dance from the characters.
There’s also, 1923, a restaurant named for the year The Walt Disney Company was founded. The dining experience pays homage to the animation and offers a tribute to its Californian heritage with dishes inspired by the state. It is divine. While there I enjoyed the Roasted Roma Tomato Soup and Parsley and Rosemary-Crusted Rack of Lamb, while my husband and kids tasted the Roasted Green Circle Chicken and Los Feliz Lobster Salad, all while we were surrounded by over 1,000 drawings from Disney movies. It was a night to remember in every possible way.
Where to Drink
On our second night on the Disney Wish, hubby and I decided to “bar hop.” The notion of bar hopping is comical because we technically never left the cruise, but the concept remained the same: we bounced from one lounge to the next. Our first stop was Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar styled as a luxurious yacht-class spaceship. We aren’t mega Star Wars lovers, but we thoroughly enjoyed the interactive tasting experiences and signature beverages inspired by destinations such as Batuu, Tatooine and Mustafar. Following the hyperspace lounge, we headed upstairs to The Rose, an upscale champagne bar inspired by the icons of Beauty and the Beast, and then Keg & Compass where we enjoyed custom craft brews. Finally, we ended our night with drinks at Luna, an entertainment cove that offered karaoke (I wowed them with my Toni Braxton songs) and live shows at night.
What to Do at Castaway Cay
The morning of our second day, we woke up docked at Castaway Cay, a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. Greeted with sunny skies and hardly a cloud in the sky, we took advantage by swimming in the blue lagoon and played volleyball and soccer at the Sports Beach. For lunch, the kids enjoyed the typical kid offerings like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken breast sandwiches at Cookie's BBQ, while we devoured barbecued salmon, chicken and grilled vegetables. No lines. No wait. Just fun all around. We also had a blast sailing, paddling a kayak, or swimming and snorkeling in the blue lagoon. After four hours we were ready to head back (but more like drop the kids off at the kids club) and enjoy some quality adult time.
Yes, There’s a Kids Club
The best part of cruising with kids on a Disney Wish is allowing little ones to have fun without their parents. Children ages 3 to 12 can enjoy the Disney’s Oceaneer Club, an exclusive kids-only play area filled with activities and Disney character drop ins. And if you have a toddler, or in our case a 3-year-old who isn’t quite potty trained, they can hang out at It’s a Small World Nursery, which offers babysitting services starting at 6 months old.
But kids club aside, I found my son attracted to Hero Zone, a mini sports arena where anyone can join in on a game of basketball, and AquaMouse, a 760 foot water ride filled with show scenes from various Disney movies and winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks. These offered welcomed reprieve when Stephen wanted to hang out with us, but still have fun.
Where to Relax
Whenever I travel, I try to find moments to visit spas where I can completely unwind and the Disney Wish provided a multitude of choices. For starters, Senses Spa was my favorite place to indulge in self-care with seemingly endless beauty treatments and steam and aromatherapy rooms. A few must-try treatments include the 25 minute Essential Facial and the 75 minute Restorative Salt Stone Massage, both of which transport you to another world that you’ll never want to leave. The Disney Wish also offers the Senses Fitness, an exercise and wellness facility for those who need to exercise off all the delicious foods and drinks.
Another adult-exclusive space I spent most of my time in included Quiet Cove pool district where I meet up with new couples, or just lounged back with a cocktail. But if relaxing with your kids in the pool is more your speed, there are six pools of various depths and sizes, so it never feels too crowded, or like you're in a kiddie pool with babies.
If you’re like me and think a Disney Cruise is a kids-only escape, you’ve got it wrong. The Disney Wish is tricked out with endless fun that's truly for families of all types, sizes and interests. One thing is for certain, if lounging in the abundant sun on a private balcony (more than half of the rooms feature private verandahs by the way) then the Disney Wish is a no-brainer for your next family vacation.