4 Ways Disney Fantasy Is Better Than Disney Dream — and 1 We’re Not So Sure About

March 2, 2012 | By | 30 Comments

With Disney Fantasy‘s star-studded christening behind us, thoughts now turn to the ship itself, a 4,000-passenger beauty that’s a sister to Disney Dream — but with its own special flavor. During a Thursday tour, we got an up-close glimpse of the vessel, with a focus on the new-and-improved areas. And at first blush, “improved” is the operable word (that’s a good thing). Disney Fantasy took some of the less impressive parts of Dream and added some sparkle. Next step: Add passengers and see how it all works.

Art nouveau is cheerier than art deco. While both ships are among the loveliest at sea, Disney Fantasy’s design cues allow for a more vibrant color palette, which hits you in the face the moment you board. The atrium is awash in colors that would make a peacock proud — and that’s the point. Expect a broad range of blues, pinks and yellows from the massive chandelier down to the carpeting.
Water + shade = more inviting outdoor spaces. While the adult-only Quiet Cove Pool on Deck 13 remains largely intact, the deck space directly above it has been redesigned. Instead of wide expanses of plain teak decking, long canopies for shady lounging have been installed, as well as a small pool dubbed the “funnel puddle” (it sits directly below the ship’s iconic funnel). Even better, one deck up all the way forward, what is a barren, unpeopled wasteland on Dream has been transformed on Fantasy: The new kid-free Satellite Sun Deck provides adults with more canopies, loungers and — best of all — Satellite Falls, a circular pool with a “rain curtain” (sort of a large umbrella-shaped fountain you can sit under) that will come in handy under hot Caribbean skies.
It pays to pep up the party zone. While Disney Dream’s entertainment district is, yes, entertaining, it’s ultimately a disjointed affair that’s not helped by its entrance — two ho-hum bars that are separated by a walkway. On Fantasy, that space has been opened up, given an Italian sheen and dubbed La Piazza, with a giant bar in the shape of a carousel. The expected result: When the late-night brigade heads to the Euro-inspired district, the first thing they’ll encounter is a rollicking watering hole. Bonus points to the Tube, a club awash in a London vibe, complete with phone booths you can boogie in, subway-like seating and illuminated dance floor.
Crush is cute, but … Hey, I love the technicolor Animator’s Palate dining room, one of three in Fantasy’s “rotational dining” scheme, as much as the next, and Dream’s “Turtle Talk With Crush” — in which the cartoon terrapin chats up diners — is impressive. But it’s a bit intrusive, and unless Crush actually singles them out, little ones may feel a bit left out. Fantasy ushers in the amazing “Animation Magic” show: After you draw a character on your placemat (basically scrawl whatever you want in a template that looks like a person), they’re scooped up by waiters. Then, about two-thirds into the meal, everyone’s masterpieces come to life (dancing, skipping, singing) on the screens around the room. The effect is breathtaking. (Don’t worry, Crush fans: The show will remain in repertory on Fantasy.)
Get ready for costume drama. This is the one I’m not so sure about. Kids will absolutely adore Deck 5’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a Disney theme park stalwart making its first appearance at sea. At this lovely little salon for half-pints, parents can pay from $55 to almost $600 (for three makeovers, including wardrobe) to have their tots gussied up as their favorite princess or pirate. It’s another brilliant way to nab revenue on a casino-less ship, no doubt, but that cost means you better have some bibbidi bobbidi bucks on hand.
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    30 Responses to “4 Ways Disney Fantasy Is Better Than Disney Dream — and 1 We’re Not So Sure About”

    1. Jim
      March 4th, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      No worry about bringing bucks along. Other than a little shopping and some excursions, we don’t spend much on board. No kids spa stuff here – and they wouldn’t even miss it.

    2. Terry
      March 4th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      Got off of the Dream yesterday and to say we were disappointed with our experience is a understatement The ship says it holds 3600 guests but had 4300 on board. It’s was way over crowded you couldn’t find a chair anywhere. The food was very bland. The shows were horrible. This was our first cruise and we could not find one person that enjoyed it. I’m talking about people that had been on 20 plus c…ruises said it was by far the worst cruise they had ever been on. It’s sad that we couldn’t wait for 7am to get off of that ship. The comics were pretty good and the karaoke was the best part of the cruise thanks to Solomon. Our house keeper Carlos was awesome too. Wish I didnt have a cruise booked in October that they wont let me out of.

    3. Heather
      March 4th, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

      Really? I just got off this same cruise with 3 other couples and we all LOVED it.

    4. Candee
      March 4th, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      I would have to agree…..I too have been on many cruises and I feel the Disney one was the least value for our money. If we wern’t going to Disney World directly after the cruise I would have been very dissapointed as the lines were horrible to have photos with the characters! The food was not as expected and the same for the service. I would rather take our grandchildren on a Royal Carribean cruise than a Disney anyday!

    5. Ted
      March 4th, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

      I cruised the Disney Dream last September and was impressed over all. The entertainment was excellent, Disney does it right. The staff was very accommodating. NOW, I can see that what these ships lack; extremely poor design and seating in their dining rooms. Wait staff had to dodge and scoot around misplace stations. Tables were set up too close, impossible to access, especially in the Animators Pallet. Food was so so. Late night dining so limited and closed early.

      I could go on BUT this hips and from what I can tell, the Fantasy as well. Too small for the number of people advertised to accommodate. Very sad but I heard comments by those who have cruised the Magic and Wonder and preferred them over these tight new ships.

      I won’t be doing another Disney cruise soon. If I do, I’ll try one of the older ships.

    6. Delaina
      March 5th, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

      I also got off the Disney Dream just yesterday (March 4th) and was pretty disappointed. This is my 5th cruise (1st Disney) and I felt the ship had some SERIOUS design issues and flow problems. We could rarely get an elevator, a chair, and on embarkation day the pool was body to body because there are way too many people for these areas. There were parts of the ship I never saw (which is a first for me) because it was just too difficult to navigate all the crowds and baby strollers! There were traffic jams trying to get down a narrow hallway to get to kids clubs. Also people did not adhere to the requested dress code (and Disney did not enforce like other lines do) which I found very disappointing. We spent time and $ shopping for clothes, only to be surrounded by people looking like they were in the theme park. It does not feel so special to go to dinner in heels and a nice dress to have the folks in front of you in jeans and sneakers! That made us feel ridiculous..like we were overdressed. Waited in line an hour to disembark. Too many lines for most things…I expect that at theme parks, but not on cruise. Would not go on Dream again. Would consider smaller ships.

    7. Lynn
      March 7th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

      Went on Dream last March and had a wonderful time sans children no less. Maybe the occupancy was lower or something because it was VERY nice cruise — enjoyed every aspect of it. For comparison purposes: it was our 2nd Disney cruise and 12th overall dating back to the mid-80’s.

    8. Lynn
      March 7th, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      We just finished a three night cruise on the Dream (9 of us from 69 to 7). My only complaint was the cruise was too short. We did not have time to explore the whole ship. The food was excellent and the service far superior to RCI and Celebrity . This was our third Disney cruise and we are booked on the Fantasy for 2013.

    9. Robin
      March 8th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

      I went on my first Disney Cruise (Dream) in January2012. We had 10 in our party, 4 were children. We had a blast! The late dinner was a bit late after a day of playing for the kids, so that we would change and yes, they could rearrange the dining room that was a bit close quarters. The fellow that took care of our rooms was amazing. He took care of every detail to make sure the children were comfortable. We had concerns about our dinner one night and the head waiter made sure the next night that everything was out on time and to our liking. Castaway Cay was the best! The only thing was to stay there for 2 days rather than going to the Bahamas!! Disney will work out the issues and we will go again.

    10. Christine
      March 11th, 2012 @ 9:21 am

      We did the Dream last March and will be on the Fantasy in May, 61 days! We have cruised on RCCL,NCL and Disney. My parents, who have cruised 20+ times on all of the popular cruise lines are now die hard DCL fans.
      I did 2 cruises last year, RCCL and DCL…even though I was disappointed with some of the design, which affected flow, on the Dream….I would still sail it over RCCL anytime.
      This is all very subjective! I say what I like….you say what you like….we can’t all agree!
      I am encouraged to read that DCL has addressed the flow issue of the adult area! Overall that was my only real complaint on the Dream.
      I think when people complain about every single item regarding their vacation experience…..they are probably being over emotional and not objective. That being said, I respect everyone’s opinion ,I just do not agree because my experience can not reflect theirs. I love Castaway Cay! I love the CM’s…there is a lot that I love about DCL. I love the AquaDuck ( OK I was finished saying what I love when I remembered this and had to say it)
      We are all extremely excited for our May cruise!!
      I hope you all get to enjoy many cruises in the future on whichever cruise line you choose to go with! :)

    11. Lynn
      March 12th, 2012 @ 9:08 am

      I just got off the Disney 7 day cruise on Sat. and loved it. Food was amazing. Staff was amazing. The only complaint I have is that the kids pool is too small- standing room only!!!!! My kids love to swim so this was disappointing. The adult pool was always empty- 2 to 3 adults whenever I walked by. Adult pool should have been smaller and kids pool larger!

    12. Derek
      March 13th, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

      We sailed 2/26/12 on the Dream and it was not crowded at all.

    13. Nick
      March 13th, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

      Really not sure how anyone could claim that the shows were horrible. They were quite the opposite – vintage Disney. Here is a tip, if you are not a fan of all things Disney, you may want to consider another cruise line. We took a Thanksgiving cruise on the Dream last year with our kids and close family and had a blast. I hate crowds and did not feel that the ship was overcrowded at all except for the pool areas on sea days. Overall, the food ranged from good to excellent. We definitely plan on cruising with DCL again.

    14. Angie
      March 19th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

      Just got off the Dream 3/14/12. Overall disappointed. The food was not good in the dinning rooms the buffets were better. Pools too small for all the children. Aqua Duck was fun but lines too long. Overal was an ok vacation not a got to do again. Will be a long while before we go on a disney cruise again. But will not rebook on the dream.

    15. Hogsbreath101
      March 21st, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

      I have been on two Magic cruises, one withmy kids as teens and one with my mom and am heading to the Fantasy next with my girlfriend! I can’t wait. After sailing Disney and listening to people who sailed other cruise lines, I’m afraid I would be disappointed with any other cruise company. Only down side, the cost. Disney is pricey BUT thank goodness for DVC!

    16. Ed Bossle
      March 22nd, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      Correction to the article – – Quiet Cove pool is on Deck 11, not Deck 13.
      We’ve been on all 3 DCL ships, 2X each, and truthfully Magic is still our favorite. Dream is a great ship, but the short itineraries make it difficult to really experience the entire ship. Have a 7 night booked on Fantasy; hoping the longer trips are better.

    17. Lee
      March 24th, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

      4 adults on Disney Dream last May for 5 night cruise with 2 stops at Castaway Cay. Overall good cruise, although we found the veranda room to be a bit smaller than on the Magic or Wonder. Also, weird set up around the Quiet Cove pool area, so glad to hear that’s been addressed. Agree that the dining rooms were way too tight. That being said, my husband and I are taking our 11th cruise in 11 years on Disney on May 13th…4 nights on the Dream. We have cruised on Celebrity, but it’s just very bland compared to Disney and entertainment was like a bad high school musical. It definitely helps if you like the Disney product overall…we do. The ships are superior to any other in class with split baths, larger staterooms, beautiful decor and superior entertainment. Absolutely love Castaway Cay, too. Plan to book 7 night cruise on Fantasy while on board to get 10% discount!

    18. Ricky
      March 25th, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      My family and I sailed on the Dream last year and we all loved it. We had 3700 people on our cruise and it did not feel crowded at all… Sometimes I wonder what might feel crowded for one person may feel sparse for another. Yes, DCL charges more upfront than other lines but you don’t get nickle and dimed to death as in on other cruises. I chose this line because I wanted a cruise where I didn’t have to worry about my kids running into drunk and horny singles trying to hook up. All you really had to do is plan accordingly so you don’t run into crowds. Simple as that. We did and we rode the aquaduck 4 time without long lines. Got our breakfast without long lines.

    19. annabel lowenhaupt
      March 26th, 2012 @ 4:24 am

      My husband and I sailed the Magic last year with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, then ages 1 and 4. I can sum it up with four words: Money Extremely Well Spent. We are booked for the Fantasy for September and have vowed to take a Disney Cruise each year with our family until someone yells STOP (which is not likely to happen). My daughter and I have already discussed that Disney Cruising must now become a “Family Tradition”! As I live in Tampa, Fl. and my children visit several times a year from Israel, my daughter has agreed to put away all the Disney Costumes owned by my Princess Granddaughter, for her own children to play with one day, and wear on their future Disney Cruises. I imagine that one day my great grandchildren will tell their grandchildren that I, their great great great (have I left out a great?) was the one who started it all on a first sail on the Magic to Mexico back in the year 2011! Only problem is I suspect Disney may have “Spacehips” by then instead of these magnificent sea vessels! And perhaps my own granddaughter’s Rapunzel Wedding Dress will have been replaced by a silk and lace spacesuit and a sparkling diamond
      space helmet in lieu of a crown. Bottom line is you’ve gotta “Believe” – and we do – Disney is the best!

    20. sandee
      March 27th, 2012 @ 10:21 am

      I have been on the DCL Magic and Wonder 3x each and while I enjoyed the shows and decor of the ships I didn’t enjoy the food and missed not having a casino. When my gr.daughter turned 9 she lost interest in the kids club and characters so I figured I’d save money by trying a cheaper cruiseline. We tried RCCL, NCL and Celebrity and finally, Carnival. She loved their kids club! Go figure!! Now she’s all grown up and I want to plan a cruise on Disney Dream for the 2 of us as sort of a “reunion”. I just remember we really didn’t care for dining other than desserts. Beef was especially bland and to me always looked kind of gray! Sure hope it’s improved .

    21. Emily
      March 27th, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

      Went on the Disney dream last November with my family and it was an excellent time! We got off and we booked are next cruise on the Fantasy a month later! Were big disney fanatics so if Disney stuff isn’t for you then it shouldn’t be for you.
      There were a few flaws as in were pretty simple when it comes to food so we enjoyed lunch and breakfast better then dinner. And we also felt the trip was too short and on debarkment day we felt a little rushed.

      Other then that it was nice! We never felt crowded and there was always an open chair on the sundeck. The entertainment was awesome! And there was never a line for the Aquaduck!
      Guess it just depends on when you go during the year.

      Next spring on our Fantasy cruise we hope to be able to explore a little more and enjoy everything.

    22. Gary/Susan Meadows
      February 12th, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

      Just finished our 9th Disney cruise last week (Feb 7, 2013. We were on the Wonder. We always love our Disney cruises. The shows are excellant, the crew superb and Castaway Cay is the high point for us on every cruise.

      We have learned to save money by booking our next cruise while on board, which will be on the new Fantasy next year! Can’t wait!!!

    23. Heather
      June 29th, 2013 @ 9:25 am

      We went on our first Disney cruise on the Dream at the end of February 2012. It was a 4 night and had no issues with crowds with the exception of the Aquaduck during peak times. I also wonder if the 3 night feels busier as everyone is trying to experience everything in a shorter time. Less relaxed. They might also be more attended. We loved the shows and have now 3 more cruises booked between the fantasy and dream shops on the horizon. Can’t wait!

    24. Andrea
      August 29th, 2013 @ 10:12 am

      I’ve been on 4 Disney Cruises. Twice on the Wonder and twice on the Dream. Went on the Dream for my senior cruise (just me and my mom) and LOVED it then went AGAIN the next year for me & my husband’s honeymoon, and Disney has never dissapointed me! Planning on going next August on the 7-night Fantasy as a family vacation and we are all MORE than excited! I’m shocked at all of the people who aren’t impressed with these beautiful ships! They are the opposite of “bland”, they’re magnificent and I always find something new! I LOVE walking onto these cruises, it’s like my second home! DEFINATELY my favorite vacations ever, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else in the world. My favorite parts of these cruises are the live shows, and we’re all happy to see the shows they have on the Fantasy this coming up year. And if any adults don’t like these so called “crowds”, then get the full cruise spa pass! DEFINATELY WORTH IT! My past 2 times on DCL, I would spend ALL DAY in the spa then eat and see the shows at night. My opinion? BEST VACATION MONEY CAN BUY!

    25. Cheryl
      October 26th, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

      I just got off the “Dream”, cruised with 4 grand kids, two daughters and their husbands. I have to agree with the folk who says the shows were great , magical, and enjoyable. I also have to agree with those who found the dinners below par. The dining rooms tight. In Animatora Pallet the waiters kept bumping into the back of my chair as there was not much room between my chair and the person sitting at the table behind ours. The lunches and breakfasts were okay.
      Getting off the ship was too long with long lines. I have been on other cruises where the disembark ment is done by deck numbers and the process was very smooth with no long line and wait time.
      Overall the entertainment was wonderful, the dinners not what I expected the food was nothing to rave about. Kids enjoyed the kids club.

    26. alex
      December 23rd, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

      I’m so excited to go! But witch one is better for a 10 year old and clubs?

    27. Vi
      January 15th, 2014 @ 10:14 am

      Which handicapped cabin on the Fantasy is better for someone who uses a walker? We found the incline from bathroom to cabin too steep in one cabin on the Dream 6186 and moved to cabin 5686. The incline was different on the same ship!

    28. Dave
      February 26th, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

      Sailed on the Dream Feb 2013. We’ve sailed RCL and Princess, and I gotta tell you — it’s not even close. Disney is head and shoulders above the other cruise lines. The ships are immaculate and the service impeccable.

    29. Lisa
      March 8th, 2015 @ 10:32 am

      Just got off the Disney Dream with hubby and two young children and it was amazing! I cannot begin to explain how awesome our experience was, but let me tell you this: I am looking for our next cruise with them today!!! One piece of advice: “be early” to everything: Air/Bus/Ship/Events, and you will not be disappointed. There was a pool worker named Thompson from Jamaica who literally moved chairs by the kid pool to add seats for my hubby and myself on sea day. Disney’s customer service is truly AMAZING!

    30. Tracy
      March 31st, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

      We are looking at booking a Disney Cruise but have no idea where to even start. Thinking the Fantasy or Dream. We have a 8 year old son. Any suggestions??

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