Perhaps it was a case of setting expectations too high, but after cruising on the Magic a few years ago and loving it, plus having happily attended the theme parks many times we reconciled the fact that we were paying about twice the price of the other 7 Alaska cruises we have taken with the fact that , well, it is Disney! When our best friends and their families invited us on this cruise with them it was a no brainer, and looking at it from their perspective I would write a different review. Their children and grand children thoroughly loved the trip. Of course they weren't paying for it, and had a totally different criteria of what makes a cruise great. So if you have kids who are Disney fanatics, and you can afford it, take this cruise. Otherwise, you will have a much better experience on almost any of the other cruise lines that offer this itinerary.
Embarkation was fairly efficient, not too long a wait. Room was ready on arrival and both our stateroom attendant and our dining staff were very friendly and efficient. Disney is one of the few cruise lines that still doesn't offer some aspect of 'anytime dining' and considering their concept of rotating venues it is understandable. But the buffet is not a buffet at dinner, so there is no chance of getting a quick bite there if you get back late from a shore excursion, or just don't want to spend 90 minutes eating a meal. Quality of the food was acceptable, but certainly no better than on HAL or PCL.
One of the major disappointments was our cabin. The layout was fine, space sufficient and split bathrooms quite nice, but we were directly below the 'wave bands' disco and heard the loud bass and dancing feet of the patrons until after one a.m. almost every night. The DJ, Kevin was extremely apologetic but he was just doing his job, and we drew the short straw with that cabin location. The ship was full, so switching was not an option. Also, the first morning of the cruise, the plumbing had backed up the night before and we awoke to find (and step in) an inch of sewage on our bathroom floor, and 4 inches of sewage in our bathtub. Our steward did a great job of getting everything repaired and cleaned up expeditiously, nevertheless it was not the way to start off the trip.
The entertainment varied from superb (the Disney production shows) to disappointing (showing a Disney movie in the main theatre instead of live performers).
The other major problem for me was the men's sauna, which was inoperative for the entire cruise. I have almost a ritual of doing 30 min. on a stationary bike, some weights and resistance work in the gym, then sitting in the sauna for 20 to 30 minutes before going to dinner on every cruise we take, and this is the first time I was unable to accomplish that. Not so big a deal for most people, but for me, hey it's Disney, you expect things to work.
Summing it up, there are good and bad things about every cruise ship and cruise line, but when you pay about double the going rate for the Disney experience you should expect everything to be acceptable, if not perfect. If I were 9 years old it would have been a trip of a lifetime. I suppose it was still the trip of a lifetime, but for totally different and not so 'Wonder'ful reasons.