A Truly Magical Trip: Disney Magic Cruise Review by fanatix

Disney Magic 5
Member Since 2008
6 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

A Truly Magical Trip

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This is my third cruise, and my first with Disney.  Previous experience was Carnival and Royal Caribbean (RC).  In short, we had the BEST TIME on Disney!  It was just the 3 of us - myself, my husband and my 4 year old daughter.  I had read many reviews on cruise critic about the Disney Magic - some people loved it, while others rated it only par.  I really wanted to go on vacation this spring, and after looking at various options, I decided to do a cruise.  But, to where and which cruise line?  I decided on Disney as I got a good deal online. I booked a guarantee inside room for $700pp.  I paid a $20 processing fee and also bought insurance.  30 days before the trip, Disney mailed me my tickets - I ended up with a cat-9 room on deck 2.  Deck 2...I was thrilled! 

We took a non-stop Southwest flight from Texas to Orlando the day before, and stayed at my sister's. Her husband kindly drove us to Port Canaveral, More which was only about 45 minutes away.  From the moment we got there, I felt sure that this was going to be a good trip. Disney is SO ORGANIZED.  They really do a spectacular job with moving all the people.  We got there about 1030am, and boarded by about 1230pm.  Compared with the Galveston port I embarked on last year for my Royal Caribbean cruise (RC Voyager), Disney's Port Canaveral is a 10!  

This was the first sail where they decided to skip Cozumel - which was fine by me.  Instead, we went to Nassau. I had called Disney a couple of days before, so I was aware of this itinerary change before I got there.   

The Disney Magic ship is small in comparison to the last ship I cruised on (RC Voyager).  But, after awhile, I realized that smaller makes everything more convenient!  We had a stateroom starboard midship on the 2nd level which was so convenient. 3rd and 4th decks was dining and entertainment. We had a laundry room on the port side on the 2nd level which I used 3 times. I could hike up easily to the 5th floor to the Oceaneer Club to drop off my daughter for some fun. And, every morning, I did my step exercises to the 9th floor to the beverage stand to get some soda.

The things that we really loved about the CRUISE were:
1.  Non-smoking mostly everywhere - very few people smoked. Compared with RC Voyager, where smoke seemed to be everywhere!  This was a HUGE deal to me. 
2.  Stateroom Cat 9 was a good size and lots of closet space and 1.5 baths was awesome!  Having a tub to bathe my daughter in makes life for a parent so much easier.
3.  Disney characters around every day! Rather than standing outside in the hot sun at Disneyworld, we were able to get lots of pics and autographs onboard - mostly on level 3.  Lines were much shorter and it made for a much nicer experience.
4.  Dining server (Grace from Jamaica) was so friendly and very knowledgeable. She gave us wonderful service and she really made my daughter feel special.  Aleksander, the assistant server was also very gracious.  And, the head waiter - Alessandro always checked up on us to ensure we were doing alright.
5.  Castaway Cay was GORGEOUS and, like many people, this was our favorite port.
6.  Disney's organization of EVERYTHING ONBOARD was fantastic.  They make it look so easy.  When it's that easy, you know a lot of thought has been put into the details.
7.  Oceaneer Club was GREAT!  My daughter loved going there - they take great care of the kids.  We dropped her off many times, sometimes for dinner even. It was nice for me and my husband to have some time on our own.
8.  I loved that Disney organized a 5K run on Castaway Cay.  Yes, there were only 3 of us running that morning, but Matt from the Disney Entertainment group was wonderful as he took us around the island for the run.   Later, I found a certificate slid under my stateroom door, showing i had ran it - a nice touch.
9.  The production shows on Disney are fantastic for families. We always arrived about 30 minutes and were generally the first in line - and had our pick of seats.  I personally preferred these shows over the old timey RC entertainment. 
10. I called Disney before our vacation and asked if they had DVDs in the room.  They told me to fax a request in, and I did.  They then set me up with a DVD in my room at no charge.  Wow, talking about service!
11. Disney offers great channels on TV.  Though we spent little time in our room, when we did turn it on, it was nice to get some good variety of shows, including some live news. 
12.  Room service is quick - 25 minutes max - we used it once for my daughter, and were quite pleased, though we definitely prefer to go to the dining room for a decent variety.
13.  Palos was WONDERFUL. Our server, Igor, was so attentive.  We went only once, but we were very impressed with the food and the service.
13.  Captain Tom ordered the perfect weather each and every day!  From the high 80's to the low 90's...we were very happy cruisers!
14.  The tendering situation in Grand Cayman is so easy.  When we went there last year via RC, I sent my husband to get tickets the nite before and there was a mob of people waiting in no particular line. He hated that experience.  Disney makes you go to a theater after your breakfast (with all your stuff and family) and they lead you in an orderly fashion outside to the tender boat.  I got there at 730am and was off the ship by 8am - and I had much time to spare before embarking on a tour (not with Disney).
15.   Debarkation at Port Canaveral is A BREEZE!   I couldn't believe how easy it was.  A friendly porter named Steve came up to me, asked me my stateroom, and then grabbed our luggage from the luggage area - everything is organized by luggage tag color and by stateroom making it very simple to pick up the luggage.  Going thru immigration was so easy too.  My experience at Galveston was horrific - it took over 2 hours to get off the ship.  Disney controls their own area, and they know how to move you right on out.  It took me 15 to 20 minutes from the time I left the ship til the time I was out waiting for a shuttle. 
16.  Disney had hand wipes and hand sanitizer stations in all dining rooms entrances.  Plus, there were people there just waiting to hand you one (they're holding the container, not the wipe :-).  I appreciated Disney's concern regarding the swine flu situation - I started wondering...gees..shouldn't it be like this all the time?  
17. Late night and other entertainment besides the production shows was family friendly and a lot of fun.  We went to Studio Sea several times.  We played Who wants to be a Mouseketeer one night. One late afternoon, they did a Tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter - and my daughter was selected to have tea on stage with them, which she really enjoyed. 
18.  Disney ports of Key West, Nassau, and Castaway Cay are great in that there is no tendering - we never experience a line to get off the ship.  
19.  Free soda!  I'm a big soda drinker (yeah yeah, I know it's not good for me), and I'm more than happy to go up 7 flights of stairs to get my free soda in the morning. Of course, I brought two large containers to fill up!

The things that were so so.
1.  Topsiders food was very so so...but we ate mostly in the dining rooms.  My 4 year old daughter was fine with it and she dined there several times.
2.  There's little food choices after 9pm, besides room service, so if you're a late night eater, you're out of luck.
3.  The dining room food was not as good as Royal Caribbean (RC) food. The presentation was excellent, but the flavor could have been a bit better.  All in all, I'd say it was more like a 3.5 out of 5 stars in my book.  
4.  The Mickey pool was very crowded.  We used the pool only once so it really didn't matter, but if you like to spend a lot of time at the poolside, be prepared to have wall to wall kids in the pool come mid-day.  
5.  Of the hundreds of disney staff members, we only encountered 2 staff members who weren't up to par. One was assisting a photographer and she was a bit green and handled something very inappropriately.  The other was a waitress at Topsiders.  But, all the other folks were wonderful! Two bad apples definitely didn't spoil my idea about Disney.
6.  Ummm...Ok..I'm now scrambling to come up with not so good things....it's hard, cuz I loved so much about this Disney experience.

They only give me 3 port reviews, so I'm including Castaway Cay here - it was THE BEST ...we just hung out at the family beach ALL DAY. I started the morning with the 5K run that Disney organized and then met my family for the rest of the day. The BBQ lunch was fabulous. Lots of good food and all included with the price of your cruise.  Sodas and ice-cream also free.  The beach is very clean.  Lots of lounge chairs and space for everyone. Water was cool and weather perfect. What's not to love?  We want to do a double dip (Castaway Cay twice in one cruise) next time!


Published 05/14/09

Cabin review: 9B2552

We loved our oceanview cabin - close to most everything!  Cat - 9 deck 2 room midship, very close to elevators/stairwell.  Never heard the neighbors - very quiet.  Lots of room to store stuff. Closet was much larger than we expected.  Having 1.5 baths is great for us with a 4 year old.  We were very pleased.   I will definitely book deck 2 in the future.

Port and Shore Excursions

We booked the Stingray/Rum Point tour from Nativeway Watersports.  Captain Chris and his first mate Andrew provide a wonderful tour at a very reasonable price.  Lunch is included also - which makes it an even more terrific deal.  We used Nativeway last year and this year too.  I highly recommend them.  

Don't go on cruise ship tours for the stingray activity - our tour had ..maybe 12 people tops...making for a much more personal experience.  I told my daughter all about the stingrays before the trip so that she'd be aware of what to expect. They're HUGE!  But, lots of fun. 

A tip for you...do not book a tour that takes you to the stingrays in the afternoon because sometimes the water gets choppy and they won't allow boats to go to Stingray Sandbar.  We made sure we went in the morning.

After the tour, we asked to be dropped off at the Royal Palms, which is part of the 7 mile island beach area. There, we relaxed for an hour til we had to get back.  It costs $4 pp via taxi to return.

Be ready to wait in line - there was a long line to get back on the tender.  It took us almost 30 minutes to board and then we waited another 15 minutes before the tender left.

At Key West, we made no specific tour plans.  Instead, we decided to go to the Hemingway House.  It's about a 15 min. walk to see it.  If you love cats, this place is for you.  We then went across the street to the old lighthouse and walked up 88 steps to get to the top.  It's quite a climb but the view is great!   We then walked over to Duval Street and enjoyed window shopping and taking photographs of the interesting shops and people hanging out there.   

A tip for you...don't buy expensive water bottles onboard the ship - you can buy it at Key West and bring it onboard - there is a CVS on Duval St, about 2 or 3 blocks from the ship.

Another tip for you...don't forget to bring your stroller - it's a lot of walking if you want to go to Hemingway House.

Read 1392 Key West Reviews

In Nassau, we booked a tour via Disney to Blackbeard Cay, a small private island about 30 minutes from the port.  We wanted to do Atlantis, but the cost was just too much.  The Blackbeard Cay tour was a much more reasonably priced tour, and we were happy with it. 

The ship arrived around 930am?, and so we got of the ship at about 10am did a quick 45 min.tour off the ship before returning to meet our tour group in the Diversions Lounge onboard at 11:15am.

The Disney staff were very organized and led us out to the tour operator.  From there, we got onboard a boat with 150 of our fellow Disney friends from the ship.  The island had stingrays there to feed and a beautiful beach.   Snorkeling equipment included in the price of the tour.  

Lunch is light though, so if you want mounds of food, you won't get it on this tour.  The lunch area wasn't very nice though - tables weren't clean and the only clean one had a lot of ants underneath it.  Needless to say, we scarfed our lunch as fast as we could.

The beach was very beautiful. I just wished we could have stayed an hour or two longer.  We left at about 1145am from the pier to the island and had to leave by 330pm to get back by 4pm. 

Read 5044 Nassau Reviews

Compare Prices on Disney Magic Western Caribbean Cruises

Read more Disney Magic cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Disney Magic Review >>

Compare Prices on Disney Magic Western Caribbean Cruises

Member Since 2008
6 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Skip X

See Disney Magic deals up to 82% off:

October Deals
Disney Magic 82% Loved It

4-night Halloween On The High Seas Canada Cruise From New York
See all Disney Magic Deals >>