Disney Dream Cruise Essential Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Sail

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The Disney Dream docks at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.(David Roark, photographer)
The Disney Dream docks at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. Photo credit: David Roark, Disney photographer

The Disney Dream’s maiden voyage was on January 26, 2011. She joined the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder as the third ship in Disney Cruise Line’s fleet of then five ships. The Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, which debuted the year following the Dream, are nearly identical in layout. Historically, the Dream has sailed three and four-night cruises from Castaway Cay to the Bahamas, but Disney Cruise Line has recently changed things up, and the Dream is currently spending her summers in Europe.

If you’re trying to decide what Disney Cruise Line vessel is the right one for you, here’s a deep dive into what the Disney Dream offers, although I choose my cruises based on the sailing dates and where they’re going versus choosing based on ship. I’ve sailed four of the five ships in Disney’s fleet and on the Dream twice.

Ship Basics

The Disney Dream is 1,114.7 feet long and 137 feet wide. The ship has 1,250 staterooms and can accommodate a maximum of 4,000 passengers and a crew of 1,458. The ship’s atrium features Art Deco styling and a statue of Admiral Donald. All Disney ships have unique stern art, and the Disney Dream’s stern art features Sorcerer Mickey directing his magical broomsticks to finish painting the ship’s emblem.

The Dream is one of two Dream Class ships – the other is the Fantasy – which are about 40 percent larger than the two classic Disney ships, the Magic and the Wonder.

Choose the Itineraries Over Choosing the Ship

I recommend choosing your Disney cruise based on what dates are good for you and where the ship is going. The ships are similar enough to one another that your experience isn’t going to vary widely from ship to ship, so take the vacation that works for you timewise and go where you want to go, whether that’s the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, or one of Disney’s new sailings in Australia and New Zealand.

Unless, of course, you’re chasing a grand slam like me. A grand slam is a term coined by the passengers to indicate they’ve sailed on all of Disney Cruise Line’s vessels. There are currently five, with the new Disney Treasure being released in 2024.

Staterooms on the Disney Dream

The types of staterooms on the Disney Dream are Concierge, Oceanview with Verandah, and Inside. Concierge is Disney Cruise Line’s suite class. The staterooms are more spacious and have enhanced in-room amenities, access to a concierge lounge, and dedicated shoreside and onboard teams to assist them. Sailing concierge has other perks, such as priority embarkation and disembarkation and the first choice of shore excursions and onboard activities.

Of course, this luxury and convenience comes with a price: Concierge staterooms are the most expensive.

The other stateroom categories are pretty much what they sound like, except Disney uses the word ‘verandah’ whereas most other cruise lines use the word balcony. An Oceanview stateroom will have portholes to look out of, and an inside stateroom will have no windows. The inside staterooms are the least expensive.

Rotational Dining on the Disney Dream

Rotational dining is unique to Disney Cruise Line. You’ll be assigned a different dining room each night of your cruise, which is included in the price of your cruise. The Disney Cruise Line Navigator App will tell you where you eat each night.

The cool thing about rotational dining is that your servers go with you. That’s right; you won’t have different servers in each dining room. Your servers will follow you from location to location, and they will make every effort to get to know you and your family throughout the cruise. The Disney Dream has three main dining rooms, Enchanted Garden (Deck 2 midship), Royal Palace (Deck 3 midship), and Animator’s Palate (Deck 3 aft).

Each menu includes bread service. The bread comes with butter and some type of dip or sauce. You’ll also find at least one plant-based option and a “lighter notes” menu, including a salad, a plain steak, plain salmon, and a plain chicken breast. Each venue has unique desserts, a signature dessert, and a sugar-free dessert option.

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Read More: Restaurants on the Disney Dream: Complete Guide to Dining Onboard

Early or late dining

Guests will choose between early or late dining when booking their Disney Dream cruise. Early seating is at 5:45 p.m., and second seating is at 8:00 p.m. This may vary by cruise, and when the Disney Dream is in European ports, the dining times may be pushed later. Once you choose, you’re locked in, and there is no flipping back and forth between early or late seatings.

Enchanted Garden

The gardens at Versailles inspire the Enchanted Garden’s decor. The appetizer menu choices included a cucumber garden roll, an ahi tuna and avocado tower, an applewood smoked bacon and mushroom tart, and lobster ravioli.

The soup and salad menu included asparagus soup, tomato soup, spinach and raspberry salad, and a romaine wedge. Mains included sea scallops, sea bass, roast chicken, seared pork medallions, and prime rib.

The dessert list included:

  • A sticky date pudding.
  • A chocolate torte.
  • A gluten-free orange almond cake.
  • A brownie sundae.
  • A pecan pie tart.

The food was good and plentiful, and the atmosphere felt pretty and soothing, like eating in a…well, in an enchanted garden. That said, this was my least favorite restaurant on the Dream.

Royal Palace

The theme of the Royal Palace is Disney princesses. There is princess artwork around the dining room’s perimeter that’s fun to walk around and look at if the dining room isn’t too crowded. Appetizers include duck confit, iced lobster, jumbo shrimp, fried brie, and escargot.

Soup and salad offerings include a potato and leek soup, French onion soup, a Bosc pear salad, and a farmer’s salad with goat cheese.

The main dishes are pasta with lobster and tomato, oven-baked salmon, roasted duck, rack of lamb, and chateaubriand.

 The featured desserts are:

  • A Grand Marnier souffle.
  • Apple tartine.
  • Strawberry shortcake sundae.
  • Creme brulee.
  • A chocolate sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup with chocolate ganache.

I love the princess-like setting, which is just the perfect amount of theming and not too “in your face” Disney. The menu is rich, luxurious, and perfect entry-level French cuisine that will make both more sophisticated palates and picky eaters happy.

Animator’s Palate

I’ll preface this by saying I adore Animator’s Palate, my favorite restaurant across the fleet. I’m bummed that the Disney Wish doesn’t have it. Animator’s Palate is your favorite Disney animation coming to life before your eyes. The entertainment is truly spectacular. The Dream has Undersea Magic, where you can have a real-time conversation with Crush from Finding Nemo as he swims around the dining room, popping up in various picture frames.

Magical Entertainment

Animation Magic is truly one of my favorite parts of Animator’s Palate and Disney Cruising in general. If you’re lucky enough to eat at Animator’s Palate when Amination Magic is happening, you’ll be given a placemat to draw on when you first sit down to your meal. The servers will collect your placemats, and your drawings will become a special, magical part of the entertainment.

Delicious Food

The food at Animator’s Palate is also my favorite of the three main dining rooms. Appetizers include smoked salmon tartare, slice serrano ham, black truffle pasta, and a tomato tart. The choices for soups and salads are butternut squash soup, baked potato cheddar soup, an arugula salad, and a chicken salad.

Mains are pasta bolognese, tuna steak, thyme-seasoned chicken breast, herb-crusted pork, and ginger-dusted beef tenderloin with wasabi mashed potatoes that’s a fantastic explosion of flavors – and I’m not a huge red meat eater.

Desserts at the Animator’s Palate include:

  • A lemon icebox pie.
  • Cookies and cream sundae.
  • Crunchy walnut cake.
  • Cheesecake with a layer of chocolate fudge.

Other Included Dining On the Disney Dream

There are many other places to eat included in the cost of your cruise.


Cabanas is the Disney Dream’s buffet eatery. Serving a wide variety of items for both breakfast and lunch, Cabana’s offers indoor and outdoor seating.

Room Service

Most room service items on the Disney Dream are included in the cost of your cruise. A variety of soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches, and desserts can be delivered to your room 24 hours a day. Really.

Certain items on the room service menu are not free, so make sure you’re paying attention when you order. Alcohol, canned soda, and snacks such as candy and popcorn aren’t included.

Flo’s Cafe

If you want to eat on the deck or grab some quick service sustenance while you’re enjoying the ocean views, this outdoor eatery is home to three food stations—Luigi’s Pizza, Tow Mater’s Grill, and Fillmore’s Favorites, all inspired by Disney Pixar’s Cars. Chicken, pizza, salads, and sandwiches are served so everyone can find something they enjoy.

Eye Scream Treats

Unlimited soft serve is a Disney Cruise Line favorite.

Frozone Treats

The smoothies at Frozone Treats are not included in the cost of your cruise.

Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats

Vanelleope’s Sweets and Treats serves hand-dipped gelato, a variety of sundaes, ice cream treats, candy, and other delights to tempt a sweet tooth. Not included in the cost of your cruise.


Preludes is the concession stand near the theater that serves popcorn that you can smell a mile away, candy and other snacks, sodas, and alcohol. You can also order from a server in the theater before the show starts.

Cove Cafe

The Cove Cafe serves specialty coffee and tea, with and without alcohol. Aside from the self-service coffee machine in the Concierge Lounge, the Cove Cafe is the only place to get decent coffee on the ship, and if you like your morning java, make sure you’re budgeting for it.

While the drinks at the Cove Cafe aren’t included in the cost of your cruise, the snacks are.

There are usually a variety of pastries in a display case that are free to adult guests. The Cove Cafe is located in the adult-only area of the ship. If you visit between 5:00-7:00 p.m., you might get lucky and find antipasto.

Senses Juice Bar

This juice bar is located near the Senses Spa and Salon and serves nutritious beverages made with fresh fruits and vegetables. Not included in the cost of your cruise.

Adult Fine Dining on the Disney Dream

The Dream has two adult-only fine dining venues, Palo and Remy. If you’re looking for a sans kids dinner or brunch date, a coveted reservation at one of these spots is the way to go.


Palo serves dinner and brunch on sea days. Dinner is $45 per person, and brunch is $40 per person. The prices are always subject to change. I’m a big fan of Palo Brunch. Although the buffet portion of Palo Brunch is no more, the current menu is more than ample, and you’re brought an antipasto tray early on in the meal with most of the things the old buffet used to have.

The brunch menu includes tasty delights such as soups, waffles and pancakes, benedicts and omelets, and Italian-inspired dishes such as calzones, pizza, pasta, and chicken parmesan. The current dessert menu includes a light vanilla berry panna cotta, a limoncello torte, and traditional tiramisu. While I can’t find fault with any of the desserts, the brunch menu is so excellent and robust that I didn’t have much room. I didn’t think any of the desserts were worth saving room for and I recommend you go for it and sample as much of the brunch menu as you can hold.

They’ll keep bringing you food as long as you can handle it.

For dinner, Palo has an extensive selection of steaks and seafood that are a little more thoughtfully prepared than what you’ll find on the main dining room menus. If you’re a foodie or really crave a good steak or premium seafood, book your dinner at Palo. If it comes down to the choice between Palo dinner and Palo brunch on the Dream, the brunch is an easy winner.


French cuisine with Ratatouille-inspired decorative touches paired with ocean views? Can you say “Ooh la la?” Remy serves dinner, brunch, and a dessert-only experience. I think it’s approachable for fine dining, but it is fine dining and it may make someone new to truly upscale food experiences uneasy, although I think on board a Disney cruise is a great way to dip your toes in and try something new.

The serves will do a great job explaining the dinner menu to you, but if you’re a picky eater or have dietary restrictions, you might find Remy less than accommodating. If you’re more of a chicken tenders person than a foie gras with cauliflower foam person, $125 per person for dinner might be something you want to rethink, but if you’re an adventurous eater, Remy is a truly delicious gastronomic journey. Allow about three hours, and plan to take a walk on deck after. You will need it!

The famous Remy cheese cart

If you love a good cheese course, Remy won’t disappoint. The cheese cart has several varieties of cheeses plus accompaniments like honeycomb and apricots. The server will expertly plate your cheese and recommend the order to enjoy them.

I love cheese, but I don’t enjoy the taste of Brie or most soft, pungent cheeses, and there wasn’t a lot on the cheese cart that I liked. I enjoyed the presentation and the opportunity to taste something new. My husband more than made up for the share of cheese I did not eat.

Remy Add On’s

If you really want to splurge, you can get the sommelier-curated wine pairings for $230 per person, which adds up to an extremely expensive dinner for two. We did it, and I thought it was worth the splurge, but it definitely pinched our pocketbooks. The wines were outstanding, and our sommelier was very thoughtful and kind, but my husband and I know a bit about wines. Someone newer to fine wine tasting might feel out of their depth.

It’s an additional $30 to add champagne pairings to brunch and $25 to pair wines with a Remy dessert experience.

Palo and Remy Dress Code

Formal or semi-formal attire is recommended. Dress casual attire with a polished look is permitted (such as dress pants, jeans in good condition, collared shirts and blouses, and lifestyle shoes). Clothing such as T-shirts, swimwear, and sports attire is not permitted.

Bars on the Disney Dream

The District

The Dream has an adults-only, late-night area – and late-night is relative on board the Disney Dream. Things shutter pretty early. The District has five bars where adults can have a drink before or after dinner or participate in adults-only games, dancing, or quiz shows.

The Skyline Bar features a digital window that displays rotating cityscapes. Pink is a bubble-themed champagne bar, although they serve other cocktails and spirits.

Evolution is a nightclub-inspired space with a dance floor and a stage – check the Navigator App to see what’s happening. If you’re looking for a cozy pub, 687, is named for the shipyard number assigned to the Disney Dream while she was under construction.

The District Lounge is a stylish space at the The District’s entrance, where you’ll find a full bar and live piano music. The District is open to guests of all ages before 7:00 p.m.

Other On Board Bars

The sophisticated Meridian Lounge, located between Remy and Palo, offers gorgeous ocean views off the back of the ship. Palo and Remy’s dress codes may apply in this space.

The “blink and you’ll miss it” Vista Lounge on Deck is a fun, tucked-away spot to have your morning coffee or a pre-dinner cocktail.

Looking for a family-friendly place to hang out and enjoy games that everyone can play? Check out the D Lounge on Deck Four for family quiz shows, karaoke, and more.

Kid’s Activities On the Disney Dream

Kids clubs are included on the Disney Dream cruise and all Disney Cruise Ships. There are three kid’s clubs that young passengers can go on based on age, the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe. There’s also a nursery.

The kid’s clubs are open all day and all evening without a break, and there’s no limit to how long a child can stay in the clubs. The clubs will offer an open house on the first day and at various points during the cruise – check the Navigator App for times. Anyone can check out the clubs during Open House. Otherwise, only the kids registered with the clubs can be in them.

Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab

These co-located kid’s clubs are for kids three to 12. Kids must be potty trained. The Oceaneer Lab’s activities are a little more educational-focused than the Oceaneer Club.


Edge is the Disney Dream’s tween club for kids 11-13.


Vibe is the Disney Dream’s teen club for kids 14-17.

It’s a Small World Nursery

The nursery is not included in the cost of your cruise, and reservations are required. Kids between six months and three years old can go to the nursery.

Pools and Slides on the Disney Dream

The Disney Dream has three themed pools: the kid’s pool, Mickey’s Pool, is two feet deep, and the family pool, Donald’s Pool, is five feet deep. Both are located on Deck 11.

The Quiet Cove Pool is adult-only and has a connecting bar and hot tubs. Disney does a great job at keeping kids out of the adult-only pool area, so it is a much more serene experience than being on the main pool deck with all the excited kids.

Younger Guests and Pools Aboard the Disney Dream

Kids must be three and older and potty trained to be allowed in the pools on the Disney Dream. Swim diapers are not permitted in the onboard pools. Kids in swim diapers can splash in the adorable Nemo’s Reef splash pad if you have a little one.

The AquaDuck

The AquaDuck on Deck 12 is Disney Dream’s thrilling water slide, sometimes called a water coaster. Guests whiz around the ship in an acrylic tube and are treated to ocean views and a bird’s eye view of the pool deck.

Children under seven may ride with someone 14 or older but must be at least 42 inches tall. Single riders must be at least 54″ tall. Operating hours vary, and the lines will be long, especially on sea days. The best time to ride the AquaDuck on the Disney Dream is on embarkation day, on sea days, and in the early evening when most families with kids are at dinner.

Entertainment and Live Shows on the Disney Dream

The onboard Walt Disney Theater will have Disney-themed, Broadway-style entertainment on board. The current shows on the Disney Dream are Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and Disney’s Believe.

The shows typically run about 50 minutes to give guests time to get to dinner and other activities. Beauty and the Beast and Frozen are abbreviated versions of Broadway musicals, and the show’s designers have done a fantastic job of telling the full story in the time allotted without making the guests feel cheated.

Disney’s Believe is a production exclusive to Disney Cruise Line and is a father-daughter story about a busy inventor who doesn’t have time for his progeny. He learns about the power of believing through interactions with over 20 Disney characters, including Genie from Aladin, Mary Poppins, Tiana, and more.

On longer cruises, the entertainment may include illusionists or family-friendly comedy shows. If there’s a world premiere of a Disney movie while you’re on board, the Walt Disney Theater may hold a Hollywood-style opening night.

Shows are aligned with dinner seatings

There are two dinner seatings and two nightly shows. If you’re dining early, you’ll eat first and then go to the show. If you’re dining later, your designated show will be before dinner.

Movies on Board the Disney Dream

Watch Disney movies on board the Disney Dream in the Buena Vista Theater. The Buena Vista will show first and second run Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movies, so if there’s something from one of those franchises playing at the theater when you take your cruise, you’ll be able to watch it on board the Disney Dream, and it’s included in the cost of your cruise.

A schedule of movie times will are posted on the marquee outside the theater, and they’ll also be listed in the Disney Navigator App.

Funnel Vision

If you want to watch a Disney movie from the pool or while relaxing on the sun deck with a piece of pizza, there are nearly round-the-clock movies playing on a giant screen on Deck 11.

In Room Movies

If you prefer to cozy up in your room and watch Disney films, just turn on your TV. The television offerings may vary but on my most recent cruise on the Disney Dream in 2022, the selection for movies was almost like being inside Disney+ – I found a huge selection of programming.

Disney Character Meet and Greets

Whether you are a first time Disney cruiser or whether it’s your tenth Disney Cruise, seeing your favorite Disney characters on board is always a fun treat.

There are almost endless opportunities to interact with your favorite Disney characters on a Disney cruise ship. Your Navigator app will tell you the character times and locations, so find out when your favorites will be available and line up early for that photo. Don’t forget your autograph book.

Surprise character sightings are constantly popping up. You might see Cinderella or Belle waving from the balcony overlooking the atrium or spot Pluto clowning around in the elevator, which seems to be a favorite spot. Or, you might get lucky and encounter a character as they’re moving from one spot to the next. I once happened upon Captain Hook traveling down a corridor on Deck 5. He kept moving and gave me a disdainful little wave.

Fun Character-Themed Outfits

If you’re into character greetings, you’ll be delighted to know that character attire on a Disney Cruise Line ship is unique. You’ll see characters in nautical outfits on board, in beachwear on Disney’s Castaway Cay, and pirate garb on pirate night.

If you do an Alaska cruise, you’ll see your favorite character in fur-trimmed parkas, and if you take a seasonal cruise, such as a Halloween or holiday cruise, you’ll see characters in costumes and Christmas sweaters. There’s nothing cuter than seeing Mickey Mouse dressed up like Dracula.

Where Does the Disney Dream Cruise Stack Up For Me?

I love the Disney Dream, and it ranks number three out of the five ships I’ve sailed on so far. The Disney Wonder is my favorite, and the Disney Magic is a close second. I love the smaller ships, and I’ll be heartbroken if they retire these ships without replacing them with a more intimate-sized cruise ship.

In case you’re wondering, the Disney Wish ranks last for me – so far. That said, I’ve never had a bad Disney Cruise Line experience, and I would sail any of the four ships I’ve been on again in a heartbeat. My bags are packed! Really, they are.


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