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Disney Cruises aboard the Disney Magic
Above: Disney Cruise Lines Disney Magic Cruise Ship.

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Ship Details
Began service: January, 1998
Guest capacity: 2,400
Total staff: 950
Length: 964 feet
Passenger decks: 11
CDC inspection score: 94

Disney Magic Overview

The Disney Magic cruise ship departs from Orlando, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Caribbean, Mexico, and Panama Canal.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Caribbean, Mexico, and Panama Canal.

Disney Cruises built Disney Magic with the most modern technology inside, and the sleek classical lines of earlier ocean-going ships on the outside. These "modern classics" are long and low, with two red stacks (only one of which is necessary), a black hull, a unique pointed stern, and "Mickey yellow" designs, piping, and even lifeboats. (Trivia tidbit: Special permission had to be sought from governing authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to be able to change the standard orange of the lifeboats to the yellow that is used.).

After some early faltering, particularly with adult-oriented activities, and some tweaking (for example, adding bingo; opening Palo, the adult-only fine dining restaurant, for a lavish champagne brunch on several days; and creating Cafe Cove, the adults-only coffeehouse with books, newspapers, magazines and a small Internet center) Disney Magic has evolved into a classic, elegant cruise ship with universal appeal.

Disney Magic's Art Deco design elements are refined and understated. There are a few Disney-themed venues that are colorful and exuberant, but most of the ship's appeal lies in the fact that it is truly designed for everyone, not just the Disney fanatic and not just for kids.


Obviously designed with family comfort in mind, these staterooms are among the roomiest and most elegant at sea. The overall color scheme is a nice deep blue with gray and burgundy, and while there are "hidden Mickeys" everywhere, you have to look to find them.

The standard cabins on Disney Magic would be called a mini-suite on many other ships, with a distinct bedroom area and a living room. Twin beds, which can be made into a queen, are divided from the living area with a full pull-across curtain. The living room includes a deep full-length sofa which can be made into a third single bed; many rooms also have berths that descend from the ceiling for a fourth person, and families of five can choose a family stateroom, a bit larger than a standard, that also has a wall-mounted Murphy bed.

There are plenty of drawers for storage including six in a chest at the end of the closet and eight in the desk/dressing table. The closet has sliding doors and is fairly small, but most rooms also have an upright "steamer trunk" wardrobe for more clothing storage, which also happens to be the perfect height for kids. There are shelves above the TV in the desk area console. The beds are very low, too low for most suitcases to slide under. .

Each stateroom comes with a "cold box." It's not a refrigerator but just keeps already cold items cold. Also included in staterooms is a safe, two small end tables with a single drawer each, a sofa, a coffee table that rises to table height, a large desk with a crescent-shaped stool and a small television. The TV programming is probably the most comprehensive of any at sea, with mostly Disney-owned channels, including ABC, ABC Family, the Disney Channel and several ESPN channels, Discovery, Discovery Travel, CNN and CNN Headline. There were several stations with movies produced by Disney-owned companies including Miramax, Buena Vista and Touchstone.

The bathrooms on Magic are unique in that they are divided into a "bath and a half" configuration in all but the least expensive inside cabins. One room has a toilet, a sink and shelves for makeup and sundries; the other has a shallow tub, shower and sink.

The handicap-accessible staterooms on Magic are enormous, and the aft balcony accessible staterooms have huge verandahs (some are 30-ft. long).

Inside cabins are, for the most part, configured similarly to the outsides with the same amenities. The least expensive insides have a single bath with one sink.

Hint: The ship has six staterooms known by insiders as "The Secret Porthole Rooms." They aren't secret at all, but they are a great bargain. They are staterooms all the way forward on Deck 5 that have portholes that are -- to varying degrees -- obstructed, and they are sold at the cost of the most expensive inside stateroom. Staterooms 5020, 5022, 5520 and 5522 have virtually nothing blocking the windows except rails and a pulley; 5024 and 5524 are almost completely blocked with barrels. Still, if you are considering an inside stateroom but would love the light of day, these cabins are a best bet.

The suites are all located on Deck 8 midship. Suites range from one bedroom to two Royal suites (one with a baby grand piano), and come complete with a concierge team, more upscale design elements, full-length whirlpool tubs; the two-bedroom and up suites have dual-sink granite vanities. All of the suites have large verandas.

Suite guests get upgraded bath amenities and robes and slippers. Soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner are thyme and eucalyptus scented, served in eco-friendly cardboard packs. There is also mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrush and a vanity pack with cotton balls and cotton swabs, plus a little sewing kit.


The genius who devised the unique dining scheme on Disney ships should win an award for creativity on the seas. Magic's special "dining rotation," made it fun and exciting to go to dinner.

There are three main restaurants on Magic, and every guest gets to dine in each of them at least twice -- you remain at the same table number with the same dining companions and servers, but show up at a different location. Dining times are set at 6 and 8:30pm.

Lumiere's is the fanciest and most traditional dining room of the three, with Art Deco decor and a French-inspired menu. Animator's Palate starts out in stark black and white, but during the course of dinner, changes slowly into a room filled with color. At one point, near the end of the meal, the various screens around the restaurant come alive with Disney animations past and present. When the waiters reappear to take dessert orders, their black vests have been replaced with brightly-colored ones. Parrot Cay is a vibrant Caribbean marketplace-themed dining room. It is in this restaurant that you get the waiters singing "Hot Hot Hot" and engaging the kids, who join a mid-meal conga line to dance around the floor. We loved the bright colors and cheerfulness of this room, which is also available for breakfast and lunch buffets.

Apart from the creativity of this dining rotation, Disney has mastered the art of streamlining and organization. There are two reasons that this idea works so well. Firstly, there are three galleys, so each restaurant has its own fresh meals to serve at each sitting, and secondly, the menu service is really simple and efficient. On the first three nights of a seven-night cruise, each restaurant offers its own menu, the same one for each night. Those dining at Lumiere's on the first night get the same menu as those dining there on the third night, for example. On days four through seven, all of the restaurants switch to "theme night" dining and all of the restaurants serve the same meals. "Pirates in the Caribbean" night sees the same offerings in all three of the restaurants, as does the "Captain's Gala." The actual rotation you are assigned makes little difference in the overall dining experience except that you will dine in the first dining room on your rotation three times. Preferred rotations can be requested at time of booking, but are not guaranteed.

The food is very good and the portions ample. Everything, from soup stock to all of the breads and pastries, are made onboard from scratch.

Topsider's, the casual dining restaurant, serves breakfast and lunch buffets and is also open for dinner. On nice days you can dine outdoors overlooking the stern.

There are two fast-food locations and a fruit and ice cream bar on Deck 9, which is where most of the outdoor action is to be found. Pluto's Doghouse serves burgers, fries, tacos and chicken breast tenders. Pinocchio's Pizzeria wasn't nearly as popular on the cruise I took, but Scoops, the ice cream parlor, is an obvious favorite.

The surcharge for Palo, the adults-only fine dining bistro, was only $10, both for supper and champagne brunch. The restaurant serves wonderful Italian/Mediterranean cuisine. Book early: The restaurant is small and while supper is available nightly, the champagne brunch takes place only three times per seven-night cruise.

Room service was fast and efficient. The people who take the orders are obviously used to dealing with kids, and seem to enjoy the interchange over the phone. In-room breakfast is Continental only and ordered via a pre-hung door card the night before.

Suite guests get hot breakfast options and dining room meals delivered when requested.

One thing to note is that Disney is now offering soft drinks (Coca-Cola products) free of charge. They are available at meals and at the 24-hour drink station on Deck 9, but if you get them from a bar or room service, you still pay.


There is no casino on this ship. However, there is bingo for die-hards, with pretty good jackpots.

The deck parties on Magic were the most widely attended (by all age groups) of any I have ever seen and no one quit until the lights were out. The Pirates in the Caribbean Party, a new theme for Magic, was the highlight of the cruise, with every guest wearing a red bandanna and some donning Cap'n Hook hats, eye patches, the works. Pirates rappelled down the stack, flew over the balconies, and everyone. The cruise staff uses a lot of music that involves the family.

There are several production shows that feature the Disney characters, and they are wonderful ... bright, colorful, perfectly executed and intricately elaborate. !

When there is a theatrical release, guests on Magic get to see it at the same time. Otherwise, there are first-run movies shown daily in the Buena Vista Theatre; PG-13 and R-17 movies are shown at later times, kid-friendly movies shown during the day.

There are the game shows, Mickeymania and Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer in which you test your Disney knowledge. There are shuffleboard tournaments, golf chipping and putting contests, pool games during the day, shopping talks, toad races and my personal favorite, the Mickey 200 in which you create a race car out of vegetables.

Early in the evening, between dinner times, there is a short version of the cabaret show that's family friendly. After hours there's an adult version. It was adult humor that was acceptable to everyone. That showroom, Rockin' Bar D, is used afterwards for dance parties.

There are three adult daytime programs on Magic: The Navigator series, which allows guests to see the inner workings of the ship via lectures and video, the Disney Behind the Scenes series which gives fans a "backstage" perspective of Disney productions, and the Art of Entertaining series. The latter takes place in Studio Sea and is set up as a cooking show, in which a chef prepares a portion of a meal -- appetizer, salad, dessert or main course. There are overhead mirrors so you can see what's going on, and the chef explains as he goes along. There is no charge for this, nor for the corollary classes on napkin folding and plate decorating, but there are also comprehensive wine tastings during the cruise for which there is a $12 charge.

Sessions, the forward lounge on Deck Three, features a pianist both during the day and in the evenings, who is occasionally accompanied by a vocalist.

Fitness & Recreation

There are three swimming pools on Disney Magic, all located on Deck 9, each with a different theme or purpose. Mickey's Pool is for kids only. It has a one-deck-high curly slide, is very shallow and has small toddler pools at the "ears." Goofy's Pool is for families; located midship, this is where a lot of the daytime deck activities take place and is the scene of the nighttime deck parties. Quiet Cove is the adults-only area. There are two large hot tubs at one end, a bar and coffee house at the other. It's large enough for laps early in the day when it isn't crowded.

Deck 10 has a basketball hoop and volleyball area; there are ping pong tables on Deck 9 and shuffleboard courts on Deck 4. Both Deck 4 and Deck 10 have walking/jogging tracks. There is a small but well-equipped fitness center on Deck 9, adjacent to the Vista Spa; classes in Pilates and yoga are available for a small charge.

The Vista Spa has a room called the Tropical Rainforest, which is a co-ed steam room/sauna/aromatherapy environment, with heated ceramic tile chaises and scented showers. It costs $15 per day, or a cruise-long pass for $50.

Spa treatments run from the usual; swedish massage, aromatherapy facials, rasul, or "Mud Room," The cost for the rasul is $68; other treatments range from $89 for a massage or facial to several hundred dollars for a day of pampering. The Personal Navigator will indicate which specials are offered; port days usually have the best deals.

It might be unusual to mention a cruise line's private island retreat in a ship review, but Disney's Castaway Cay in the Bahamas is actually an extension of the shipboard experience. This "day of leisure" offers a variety of recreational opportunities for families and adults. There is no charge to use the chaises, chairs and hammocks along the beach; tube, floatie and snorkeling equipment rentals are reasonably priced. There is an adults-only section, and the Oceaneer's Club and Oceaneer's Lab age groups have their own excursions, as do the teens. You can rent bicycles, go for a nature walk or take advantage of the motorized water sports such as jet skis, parasailing and banana boat rides. There is also music, dancing, a barbecue lunch and family games throughout the day.

Public Areas

The Walt Disney Theater is large enough to hold half of the ships' guests, offers fantastic line of sight with no posts or pillars, and seems to have a two-deck-high stage.

The Buena Vista Theater is smaller, but equally nice; this is where most of the Disney movies are shown during the cruise.

Most of the public spaces are located on Decks 3, 4 and 5. We enjoyed pre- and post dinner music in the Promenade Lounge, in Studio Sea we participated in the game shows, exhibitions and karaoke. The Atrium is a great meeting point and the site of Disney character autograph signing, the Captain's cocktail party, and Disney pin trading.

There are two large shops on Magic. One has Disney memorabilia and postcards. The other has logo apparel and suitcases, duty-free perfumes and liquor.

Note: You can bring liquor on board Disney ships and you may use it in your stateroom, but if you buy duty-free from their shop, it is held for you until the end of the cruise.

On Deck 3, there is an entertainment complex called Beat Street, consisting of lounges, bars and cabarets that becomes adults-only after 9pm. The cabaret lounge, Rockin' Bar D, hosts family-friendly individual performers or family dance parties early in the evening. Sessions is a comfortable lounge and one of the few spots where you can engage in quiet conversation. Diversions is the ship's sports bar.

The Internet center is located adjacent to the Promenade Lounge. There is no Internet manager on site: You can buy a week of unlimited use for $90 or pay 75 cents per minute; there is no wireless accessibility. The satellite service seemed very slow so if you plan on accessing email more than three times, the package is better.

In the adult section of the pool deck there is a new coffee house, Cove Cafe, serving specialty coffees and bar drinks; Cove Cafe also has a small Internet section, the closest thing to a library on board. Racks of books, magazines and newspapers separate the seating areas. .


Disney Magic was designed with families in mind so most of the programs onboard appeal to all age groups. The areas designated for kids are the most extensive at sea, with activities for every age level.

One of the nicest things about Magic's children's programs is the way they break the age groups, so kids of similar ages are together. All families are given a pager which can be used to receive a text message about their child's whereabouts. Kids under 10 have to be signed in by a parent, but 8 and 9 year olds can sign themselves in and out with written permission from a parent. Kids 10 - 12 can sign themselves in and out; parents can be notified by text messaging only if requested.

Teens have their own area, The Stack. It is supervised by Disney personnel, no parents are allowed. Non-alcoholic drinks and coffee are served and there are a variety of activities.

Oceaneer's Club is for smaller children with hands-on activities and arts projects. Computers and TV monitors are cloaked in plastic replicas of treasure chests. The Oceaneer's Lab is for kids from 8 - 12, offering computer time, games, pool parties and contests.

Kids get their own version of the Personal Navigator and can join their groups at any time. Their involvement can include mealtimes if desired.

Flounder's Reef, the nursery on board, takes babies as young as three months (up to 3 years of age). There is a per-hour charge of $6 for this service, but it allows parents time to be on their own for a while.

Expert Disney Magic reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Caribbean, Mexico, and Panama Canal.


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Disney World Vacations
Use this planning kit to find information about Orlando theme parks and and Disney World hotels.

Disney Magic cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Disney Magic Score: 94

Cruise Critic: Disney Magic
The Cruise Critic gives Disney Magic a 3-ribbon rating.

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