Summary: Disney Magic was great. Great service, great entertainment, good to fair food, occasionally long lines. Ship is showing wear/tear, still beautiful but lots of dings, fraying, etc.
I have been on two Celebrity cruises (Alaska & Mediterranean) and one Royal Carribean prior to his cruise.
Detail: -Concierge service was nice but not sure worth the additional cost. Able to skip the boarding line and had a concierge lounge (I think one of the lounges was used) waiting for us with snacks and drinks. Danny, our concierge, was fantastic and was constantly present without bring overbearing. He made and changed reservations, brought us snacks, etc. Disney is now asking guests to tip concierges, but there are no guidelines as with other servers so we hoped we left a generous tip.
-Pool areas are small and the chairs get taken early and often, but you can generally find chairs on 10 even later in the day. I found the loud music blaring constantly and the audio from the large TV annoying but how can avoid it. Even in the adults area, they had loud Muzak playing. Bring headphones.
-Excursions. We went on one through Disney on St. Maarten and booked independently on St. Thomas. The nice thing about booking through Disney is you don't have to pay for transport. Taxis can get very expensive on the islands. Castaway Cay is truly fantastic. On the Magic, there were plenty of chairs on the beaches and never felt crowded. We had a family cabana, and although a nice splurge, our kids wanted to play with some friends who could not be on the cabana beach area which is guarded by staff who check to see if you have a cabana wristband. The cabana beach is fantastic, secluded, and more well kept than the main beaches.
-The 1BR was spacious but we could hear kids running and chairs being moved above us on 9. And could the mattress be any lumpier and uncomfortable? Very disappointing.
-Can't avoid lines especially at peak times or places: lunch lines, waiting for elevators after a show, character pictures, guest services the last full day as everyone is attempting to calculate gratuity, etc. -The quality of food was uneven. Generally, food was about on par with an Outback-type restaurant. We thought it was very good at dinners at the three main restaurants, fair at lunch in Topsiders, and the fast food was mediocre but edible (burgers are all well done, pizza was flavorless, tacos could be school cafeteria quality). The self serve ice cream is suprisingly delicious. The healthy options from Goofy's Galley were good. The weakest meal was breakfast wherever you ate it (McDonald's quality hash browns, overcooked waffles and pancakes, greasy thin strips of bacon, Krispy Kreme donuts). There are few healthy options and the fruit selection is limited to grapes, pineapples, melons and cantaloupe. Food on Castaway Cay was fine, but again more like a school cafeteria. Expect long lines. Palo was very good, and easily worth the $20. -Service was exceptional considering how incredibly busy it can get. Restaurant staff and housekeeping make the bulk of their salary from tips-so be generous and think how difficult it is to serve so many people at one time. Our kids loved our servers and keep asking us to find and friend them on Facebook for them.
Odds/ends: We rented a car from Thrifty as one way trips. Each leg cost about $100 for a premium car. We rented months ahead and was able to avoid the one way surcharge. I dropped off the family and bags, dropped the car at the Port Canaveral Thrifty, and took the shuttle back to the ship. After the cruise, we had to wait for a Thrifty shuttle (almost a 30 minute wait while Hertz and Avis was running more regularly) but otherwise, a smooth pickup. -If the ship is full, get to the theater for a show 15 minutes before it begins. The seafood lunch buffet, as expected, will have long lines - and sushi is served too. Bring your own water, beer, and wine. A glass of wine at dinner ranged between $14-$28, and you don't know the price until you get the statement at the end of the cruise. - we were told the Magic will go into dry dock for a major overhaul after it's Mediterranean cruise in the fall of 2013.-we found the Lab and Club a nice diversion but not for extended visits as there was too much time to play computer games (old games). Also, the night we went to Palo, our servers offered, and which we accepted, to watch our kids at dinner and then escort them to the Lab.-wave phones are great but use the old method of texting.-only whole milk is offered in the self-service beverage area.-rooms need video on demand which I think the newer ships have.