Less than a three hour flight from Newark, New Jersey, Disney World is a bucket list type of vacation. Stepping onto the grounds, visitors are immersed in the worlds of their favorite characters, Mickey Mouse shaped pretzels and a spectacular fireworks show over Cinderella’s Castle. It’s the place for magic, but this Summer I also learned that Disney magic runs deep at sea too. The Disney WISH is the newest cruise ship to make a splash. Sailing from Port Canaveral to Disney’s island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, imagination runs wild for sailors of all ages. This was my very first Disney cruise and I didn’t know what to expect. Before experiencing it, I thought it’s just for kids, but that’s not the case at all.
After attending the Christening sailing, here’s what to see onboard and what may surprise you.
You’ll attend the engagement party of Queen Anna and Kristoff in the Kingdom of Arendelle
Dinner on the ship is usually much more complicated than grabbing a bite, but in the best way possible. One restaurant named Arendelle is the Kingdom from Frozen where guests are asked to join in on the celebrations of the engagement of Queen Anna and Kristoff. With a stage in the center, Elsa and Olaf also make appearances as your favorite characters sing some Frozen classics. To bring everything together, the menu is Norwegian-inspired cuisine.
Other themed restaurants include the Avengers: Quantum Encounter with Ant-Man and the Wasp where guests are on an interactive mission. Casual dining for lunch on the upper deck is inspired from the seaside boardwalks featured in “Mickey Mouse” animated shorts which includes a range of cuisines from Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Minnie.
No matter where you dine for dinner, you get the same wait staff for the duration of the cruise
I’ve never experienced service as personalized before sailing on the WISH. My family dined in three different restaurants for each night, and throughout the entire sailing we had the same two waiters. We truly got to know them over the course of our vacation, and they remembered what we liked.
My nephew on the first night asked for a Shirley Temple, and each night after that our waiter remembered to bring him the drink – even one time with a side bowl filled with cherries. We gave them hugs goodbye after our last meal like we were saying goodbye to friends that we’ve known for years.
Hook’s Barbery is a secret speakeasy
If you’re over 21 and want a shave or a haircut at Hook’s Barbery, I hope you’re thirsty. Inspired by the private quarters of Captain Hook from the classic Peter Pan, there’s a secret whiskey bar (along with rum and bourbon) to level up your vacation. Pro tip: you don’t need to get a haircut to enjoy the hidden libations.
The kid zone is arguably the coolest place on the ship
I was low-key jealous that I’m too old to venture into the Star Wars: Cargo Bay – exclusively located in the kid zone for ages 3 to 12. Aside from joining Rey and Chewbacca to board a starship and help complete the mission, kids can explore a Marvel Super Heroes space as well as a Disney Imagineer station.
While it is a babysitting service, I don’t think your kids will argue with you about being left there. After all, there is a specialty slide to enter the adult-free space. For teenagers, there are other clubs by age group with attentive staff.
You can watch movies on the ship that are currently in the theaters
If you happen to come across downtime (which I doubt) there are two Alice in Wonderland inspired movie theaters onboard that play new releases of Disney films. On my sailing it was Lightyear and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Other entertainment includes an appropriately selected musical of The Little Mermaid.
Adults only dining gives a nod to Beauty and the Beast
While the kids have their fun, the adults will play. And just a disclaimer: you don’t need to have children to sail with Disney. In the adult-only space, there’s two restaurants and a bar inspired by the iconic characters from Beauty and the Beast.
Palo Steakhouse gives a nod to our favorite talking clock, Cogsworth which offers steaks and Italian dishes. Enchanté gives looks to the quirky talking candlestick Lumiere with ocean views throughout the space and cuisine from 3-Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement. Lastly is the Rose, which has the iconic rose under a glass case with a mirror beside it upon entering. Make sure to pay attention to all of the decor because the attention to detail is beyond impressive.
The cruise isn’t long enough to experience all of the restaurants
Unfortunately, there’s simply too much to do and not enough time. The duration of the voyage is three nights with an entire day on land at Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. I wish I had more time to explore all of the food offerings but there’s just not enough meals to do so. It definitely is a good problem to have instead of not having enough to do onboard in the middle of the ocean.
Alcohol and certain restaurants are for an additional fee
While so much is included for all sailors, there are restaurants and bars that have an up-charge. For example, all of the adult-only restaurants that are Beauty and the Beast themed are for an additional fee. There’s also an ice cream and dessert shop onboard filled with your favorite Inside Out characters that is also not included.
There’s a $5,000 cocktail in the Hyperspace Lounge
Please make sure you don’t drink too much and accidentally order the $5,000 Kaiburr Crystal cocktail in the Hyperspace Lounge. The lounge itself is an oasis for any Star Wars fan (and is open to children during the day) with graphics moving at hyperspeed in the windows behind the bar. There are regular priced libations to order that are definitely “insta-worthy”.
Don’t expect late nights onboard
If you’re a night owl on vacation, this might take a bit of adjusting at first because nothing is open past midnight and mostly everything closes by 11 p.m. Unfortunately, late night partying with Mickey isn’t on the itinerary but you can order room service or hangout on the roof deck or other open spaces anytime.
If I’m being honest, by the third day I found myself walking throughout the ship singing some Disney classics out loud— and I wasn’t the only one. I’m not sure what they put in the food, but it was all delicious and just as magical as the Disney Parks. You never know which characters you’ll run into onboard!