Disney Magic Cruise: Pro Tips for an Epic Voyage

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Disney Cruise Ship Deck. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

The Disney Magic’s maiden voyage was on July 30, 1998. The Disney Magic is the first ship in Disney Cruise Line’s fleet of now five ships. The Disney Magic is nearly identical in layout to the Disney Wonder, which rolled out in August of 1999.

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 Magic 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. I’ve been on the Magic twice, and I’m currently scheduled for a third cruise on Disney Cruise Line’s OG ship.

Here’s what it’s like to set sail on the Disney Magic!

Ship Basics

The Disney Magic is 984 feet long, has 11 decks, and 875 staterooms that can accommodate a maximum of 2,700 passengers and a crew of 950. The ship’s atrium features Art Deco styling and a statue of Yeoman Mickey. All Disney ships have unique stern art, and the Disney Magic’s stern art features Goofy painting the ship’s logo.  

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 Bahamas, 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 to be released in 2024.

Staterooms on the Disney Magic

The types of staterooms on the Disney Magic 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.

Most to Least Expensive – Been There, Done That

I’ve stayed in two types of staterooms on board the Disney Magic – Deluxe Inside and Family Concierge Stateroom with Verandah. We booked the inside stateroom when we booked a cruise somewhat last minute. We chose the cheapest room possible and ended up getting an upgrade prior to sail. The upgrade gave us a Deluxe Inside versus regular Inside stateroom. The difference was that the upgraded stateroom had a split bath.

The Family Concierge Stateroom was exactly like a regular verandah stateroom but it had the blue and cream concierge decor and concierge amenities, like elevated toiletries, access to the concierge lounge, and pre-arrival services.

Rotational Dining on the Disney Magic

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.

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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 Magic has three main dining rooms, Lumiere’s (Deck 3 midship), Rapunzel’s Royal Table (Deck 3 aft), and Animator’s Palate (Deck 4 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.

Early or late dining

Guests will choose between early or late dining when booking their Disney Magic 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 Magic 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.


Beauty and the Beast inspires Lumiere’s decor, which is named after everyone’s favorite candlestick. The appetizer menu choices included a duck confit, deep-fried brie, and escargot.

The soup and salad menu included French onion soup, leek and potato soup, and a  Bosc pear salad. Mains included pasta with lobster and tomato, oven-baked salmon, roasted duck, rack of lamb, and chateaubriand.

The dessert list included:

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

The menu is rich, luxurious, and perfect entry-level French cuisine that will make both more sophisticated palates and picky eaters happy. And, if you’ve been on the Disney Dream and think this menu sounds similar to Royal Palace, you’re spot on. The menu is the same, as is the layout of the restaurant.

Rapunzel’s Royal Table

Rapunzel’s Royal Table is straight out of Tangled down to the lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, and two Snuggle Ducking Ruffians entertain guests during the meal. For me, it ties Animator’s Palate for the best dinner entertainment. Appetizers include a charcuterie board, crispy shrimp, and tuna tartare. Soup and salad offerings include a creamy potato soup, broccoli and asparagus soup, and a wedge salad.

The main dishes include pan-seared bass, roast chicken, and prime rib of beef.

 The featured desserts are:

  • Sweet fry bread with powdered sugar and hazelnut spread.
  • Cupcake sundae.
  • Apple strudel.
  • Creme brulee cheesecake.
  • Black forest tower.

Although I enjoyed the entertainment, this is my least favorite food, not just on the Magic but the entire fleet. The food is heavy, and there’s not a lot of green.

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 Magic has everyone’s favorite Animation Magic, which is truly one of my favorite parts of Animator’s Palate and Disney Cruising in general. Guests are given a placemat to draw on when they 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 are 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 Magic

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


Cabana’s is the Disney Magic’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 Magic 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.

Duck-In Diner

Duck-In Diner serves middle eastern style shwarmas, burgers, and hot dogs.

Pinocchio’s Pizza

Enjoy a slice of cheesy, delicious pizza pie.

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.

Daisy’s DeLites

This pool deck quick service option has lighter options such as fruit, sandwiches, salads, and bowls. Daisy’s and Pinnochio’s Pizza tie for my favorite spots to eat on board the Disney Magic. I had a couscous bowl with butternut squash and other veggies at Daisy’s on the Magic that’s my favorite thing I’ve eaten on a Disney Cruise, hand’s down.


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.

Adult Fine Dining on the Disney Magic

The Magic has one adult-only fine dining venue, Palo. If you’re looking for a sans kids dinner or brunch date, a coveted reservation at Palo is the way to go.

Disney Magic Adult Dining Experience: Palo

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 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 Magic, the brunch is an easy winner. .

Palo 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 Magic

Fathoms, Keys, and O’Gill’s Pub are open to guests of all ages before 7:00 p.m. After that, they are adults only.


Fathoms is an ocean-inspired retreat featuring games, variety acts, silent disco, live music, and more.


Keys is a piano bar with a sophisticated feel. Adults can listen to live music, enjoy a drink, and take in ocean views.

O’Gill’s Pub

O’Gill’s Pub is an Irish-themed sports bar and lounge where guests can catch sports on the big-screen TVs or enjoy a trivia game.


A pool bar located near the adult-only pool.

Promenade Lounge

This “blink and you’ll miss it” lounge on Lounge on Deck 3 is a fun, tucked-away spot to enjoy a cocktail before dinner.

D Lounge.

Looking for a family-friendly place to hang out and enjoy games that everyone can play? Check out the D Lounge on Deck 4 for family quiz shows, karaoke, and more.

Kids Activities On the Disney Magic

Kids clubs are included on the Disney Magic 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. From indoor play elements themed around Pixar characters to self-directed fun to organized games, the Oceanear Club is special all the way around.


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


Vibe is the Disney Magic’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 Magic

The Disney Magic has three themed pools and two waterslides. The kid’s pool, the Huey, Dewey and Louie Pool, is two feet deep, and the family pool, Goofy’s Pool, is about four feet deep. Both are located on Deck 9. There are two hot tubs near Goofy’s Pool.

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 Magic

Kids must be three and older and potty trained to be allowed in the pools on the Disney Magic. Kids in swim diapers are not permitted in the onboard pools. Kids in swim diapers can splash in the adorable Nephew’s Splash Zone. There is a second splash pad called Aquazone for kids over the age of three who are potty trained.

The AquaDunk

The AquaDunk is a body slide that shoots riders in a clear tube that extends over the side of the ship. The rider gets in position then the floor disappears from under them, making this a fast and thrilling ride. Guests must be 48” tall to ride the AquaDunk.

There is also a tamer slide, the Twist and Spout, located near the Aqualab. The Twist and Spout has a height requirement of 38” tall and all in all, this is a pretty tame slide.

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 Magic 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 Magic

The onboard Walt Disney Theatre will have Disney-themed, Broadway-style entertainment on board. The current shows on the Disney Magic are Tangled the Musical, Disney Dreams: An Enchanted Classic, and Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story.  

The shows typically run about 50 minutes to give guests time to get to dinner and other activities. Tangled the Musical is an abbreviated version of animated film 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.

Dreams is a production exclusive to Disney Cruise Line about a little girl named Anne Marie who learns to believe in herself through several musical interactions with various Disney characters. Twice Charmed, also exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, begins at the wedding celebration of Cinderella. A new villain is introduced, taking Cinderella and her family back in time, altering the happily ever after story. If you’re a fan of Lady Tremaine and the two wicked stepsisters, this one is a don’t-miss.  

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 Magic

Watch Disney movies on board the Disney Magic 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 Magic, 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 9.

In Room Movies

If you prefer to cozy up in your room and watch Disney films, just turn on your TV.

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 Magic Cruise Stack Up For Me?

I love the Disney Magic, and it ranks number two 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.

The layout of the Magic and the Wonder are nearly identical, but the Wonder is slightly newer and, more recently, reimagined.

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