Now that we’ve voyaged on three out of Disney’s four ocean liners, we’re here to bring you the 11 major differences between Disney’s two different cruise vessels: Disney’s smaller sister ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, the her larger sister ships, the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream. We’re eagerly awaiting when Disney debuts her three brand new ships slated to venture out on open water during the years 2021-2023! We’ll definitely be there! We’ve hit every single Disney Park across the globe, why not sail on every single Disney Cruise Ship in the fleet as well? Fine, call us obsessed.
11 Major Differences Between
Disney’s Two Different Cruise Ships
The first difference between the smaller and larger Disney ships you’ll note is upon entering the ship. The entrance is insanely grand, but even more so on the larger ships. True, everything on Disney Cruise Ships, and Disney is general, is about a truly immersive experience and attention to detail – but cruising with Disney takes it up a notch. The idea behind a Disney Cruise started with reentering the golden age of cruising which also includes vast winding staircases and giant elaborate chandeliers. No expense is spared, which may be why Netflix has a higher net worth value.
Everything on Disney’s bigger ships is well, bigger. This only makes sense considering how many more passengers the larger ships can accommodate. From the lobby to the restaurants to the lounges to the pool deck, everything is vast.
Speaking of restaurants, each ship has their own unique trio of dining experiences, but one thing they all have in common is Animator’s Palate. However, on the larger ships, in Animator’s Palate you’ve got a direct window to the East Australian Current. During dinner guests can watch the moonfish create shapes and guess what they are! Not to mention Crush will chat it up with your family all dinner long. Just like Turtle Talk with Crush at the Disney Parks, he’ll strike up a conversation and even interrupt you if you aren’t paying attention to him.
Another major difference between the two Disney vessels, and also relating to food, has to do with the buffet Cabanas. It is never open on the larger ships! Whereas on the smaller ships, Cabanas will stay open until 4 or 5pm, it is always closed by 2pm on the Fantasy.
The same could be said for Flo’s Cafe. Out of the four service windows you can generally only find one open come post dinner, whereas Pete’s Broiler Bites is always serving up a mean pizza, burger, or shawarma late at night on the smaller ships.
And where the heck was all the cocktail food in the adult lounges after the kids went to bed? We couldn’t find a single cocktail weenie or celery stick after 10pm on the larger ships. That is definitely a strike against the larger vessels.
Since you can’t get as much food in the public areas of the ship, you might feel resigned to ordering Room Service. When it comes to Room Service on Disney’s sister ships the Magic and the Wonder it was a little off putting, to explain it nicely. Not only did they not want to fulfill your request, once they did take your order they didn’t want you to include more than one item.
Conversely, the Room Service on the Disney Fantasy was the complete opposite experience. They couldn’t have been more friendly or more accommodating.
What can you get, if you can’t get food on the bigger ships? Alcohol. There is a huge emphasis on alcohol on the larger ships. There is a bar in the grand entrance. There is a hidden bar around the corner from the nephew’s splash pad. The top deck of the ship is one giant bar. The middle of the pool deck has a bar.
On the smaller ships, you can get alcohol, but you’ll have to take a few sober steps in between access to drinks.
Curiously, the one thing that is bigger on the smaller ships are the pools. The main pool on all ships is shaped like a rectangle, but on the larger ships, the actual swimming area is an oval cutout inside of the rectangle. On the smaller ships, the pool is the rectangle – which makes a lot more sense. The smaller ships have a lot more space to swim and provide a lot more fun doing it.
Also, another huge difference between Disney ships? No hot tubs in the main pool area on the bigger ships. If you want to sit in a hot tub you’ve got to ditch the kids and go to the adult only pool whereas two hot tubs are located in the main pool area on the smaller ships.
Then you have the pool slides. While each ship has the signature yellow slide, only the smaller ship, the Disney Magic, has the AquaDunk. On this awesome ride you are literally dropped from the top deck into the slide. It’s awesome. The larger ships instead have the AquaDuck, a tube water coaster. The AquaDunk has them all beat.
When it comes to the theaters, the bigger ships are waaaay better. There is tons more room both in terms of seating, and how much space you get per seat. This goes for both the Buena Vista Theater and the Walt Disney Theater. Both are comprised of two decks of seating, including upper and side balconies. On the smaller ships, no matter how short you are, your knees will still be touching the seat in front of you.
In order to make everything bigger they had to make something smaller, and that something is your stateroom. Disney staterooms are still one of the largest in the business, but there are quite a few differences between the smaller and larger Disney ships.
The rooms are just slightly condensed on the bigger vessels. The width of the room on the smaller ships rooms allow for a little more walkable space between the walls and the beds, and an extra set of standing drawers next to the sitting area.
When it comes to the bathrooms, the smaller ships also have shallower tubs. Our 20 month old barely had enough water to cover her body, whereas on the larger ships the tubs offer a standard depth. However, your head will be touching the ceiling when you shower.
A nice touch was added for adjoining rooms on the larger ships, and that is a magnet in between rooms to keep the door propped open. This is how we noticed the lack of width, since on the smaller ships we had to use a garbage can to hold open the door.
The last difference is that you’ll have to use your key to the world card to turn on the lights in your stateroom on the larger ships. That, or a plastic grocery store membership card will work too.
It was a huge bummer to find out Andy’s Room in the Oceaneer Club on the larger ships doesn’t have a slinky slide! How did that get past the genius imagineers? Plus, no secret passageway between the Lab and the Club on the larger ships. You can still roam between the two clubs without exiting, but you’ll find a giant craft room between the two instead of a covert tunnel with one way mirror windows.
One thing that remains constant? The midship elevators. You can never hitch a ride in one of these without fighting for your life regardless of which ship you are on.