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Disney Magic Review

Disney Magic
Disney Magic
2019 Best for Families

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Disney Magic
4.5 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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"Tangled"-themed dining, show and programming; Marvel Day at Sea sailings


Small pool for families; crowded elevators for strollers and mobility impaired

Bottom Line

Regularly updated with first-class entertainment, dining and more


Passengers 1,754
Crew 950
Passenger to Crew 1.85:1
Launched 1998
Shore Excursions 782
Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor

Disney Magic Overview

The ship that gave Disney Cruise Line a name in the industry has come a long way since its 1998 debut. Continual refurbs have kept the ship up-to-date -- newest features, added in 2018, include the Rapunzel's Royal Table dining experience -- and both kids and adults who are young at heart will find plenty of pixie dust scattered throughout their cruise. Plus, Disney Magic is also the only ship in the fleet that runs Marvel Day at Sea-themed sailings.

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Even with its updates, Disney Magic retains a sense of tradition. Like its fleetmates, the ship sports a nostalgic ocean liner appearance with a navy-blue hull and red funnels (customized with Mickeys, of course). Its Art Deco design is also complemented by nautical decor, and the Disney staple of "hidden Mickeys" stealthily placed in everything from wallpaper to light fixtures keep the magic alive for those who find them.

There are a few Disney-themed venues that are appropriately colorful and exuberant, but much of the ship's appeal lies in the fact that it's designed for everyone, not just Disney fanatics and kids. This is especially evident in the adults-only pool area, which is strategically tucked away at the front of the ship, away from main pool action (it's actually larger than the family pool); the revamped pool bar Signals, fashioned as an outdoor lounge; and the After Hours suite of bars that turn those under 18 away at night. What makes the spaces work is that the rules are enforced; we've never seen so many children (and parents with babies) chased out of a public space before.

The Disney parks are known for their service, and this attention to the passenger experience carries onto Disney Magic. Staff beam at you as you walk through the halls, and game medals are given with gusto. Servers in the restaurant steer you away from problematic dishes and the entertainment staff get people moving in the disco. And, unless your heart is made of stone, you'll melt at the characters, all pros at child-wrangling, who embrace the outgoing and coax the timid into pictures of a lifetime.

If you're trying to decide between Magic (or its twin sister Wonder) and the cruise line's newest ships, know this: Magic has a more intimate feel than its larger sisters, which makes it easier to get to know your fellow passengers, keep track of family members and have the sense that you've experienced everything the ship has to offer, even on shorter sailings. (The "fish extender" groups, essentially Secret Santa-style gift exchanges, organized by passengers on many cruises makes it easy to meet people both before and during your sailing.)

Beyond its intimate feel, a cruise on Disney Magic is all about attention to detail. From tubs in all the cabins that make it easy to bathe little ones, to infused water and chilled towels awaiting your arrival after a long day in port, Disney takes care of the things you "didn't think about" to ensure your vacation is effortless. While prices are often at a premium and upsells abound, you'll likely find it's money well spent if Disney is part of your family's DNA.

Fellow Passengers

Families make up the majority of cruisers on Disney Magic, although a handful of adult couples (sans kids) are drawn to the ship for the "Disney experience." The cabins, which are roomier than the industry average and can fit four adults, if two are willing to take bunk beds, also contribute to its appeal. Kids must be 6 months to cruise on a regular sailing and 1 year old to go on Panama Canal and transatlantic crossings.

Itineraries departing from U.S. cities attract predominantly Americans. When the ship sails in Europe, you'll notice more diversity, with less than half of the passengers hailing from the U.S. and the other percentage a mix of Spanish, Middle Eastern, British, Chinese and Japanese. While Disney has an impressive track record of returning passengers, it also welcomes a large number (sometimes up to 50 percent of the total passengers) of first-time cruisers.

Disney Magic Dress Code

Dress code is casual during the day and resort casual -- slacks and collared shirts for men and casual dresses or pants with a blouse for women -- in the evenings. Mouse ears and costumes are encouraged, and you'll see little princesses and pirates roaming the ship, as well as Marvel costumes during Marvel Day at Sea; adults often dress up for the latter, as well as Pirate Night.

On short cruises, there will be one "optional dress up" night, which is generally semiformal. Men are suggested to wear a tie and women, a dress or a pantsuit.

On a seven-night cruise, there will be one "formal" night in addition to a semiformal night. The clothing requirements are actually the same for both formal and semiformal nights; the biggest difference is on formal night when the characters also dress up for photos.

Not a fan of dressing up? Don't fret. Even these fancier nights lean more toward the casual side, with many women dressed in summer or maxi-dresses as opposed to long, formal ones. Swimwear and tank tops are not allowed in the restaurants at dinner, but shorts and jeans are permitted. In Palo, the dress code is a bit stricter: Shorts, capri pants, flip-flops and sneakers are not allowed, but you can wear jeans. It's the one place on the ship where you are likely to see jackets at dinner.

Disney Magic Gratuity

The recommended gratuities are $4 per person (adult or child), per day, for the dining room server; $3 per person, per day, for the assistant server; $1 per person, per day, for the head server; and $4 per person, per day, for the room steward. Gratuities are automatically added to your onboard account or paid in cash, at the end of the cruise. Regardless of which method you choose, on the night before disembarkation, you'll receive envelopes that allow you to personally thank your room steward and wait staff. (Those who have already paid or paid via their onboard accounts will receive tickets that show the gratuities paid, to put inside the envelopes.)

All bar, pool deck and coffee bar drinks have a 15 percent gratuity added to the bill. An 18 percent gratuity is added to spa services. It is suggested that cruisers tip a couple of dollars for room service delivery.

Disney Magic Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best for Families
2017 Best Overall
2017 Best for Families
2016 Best for Families
2015 Best Overall
2015 Best for Cabins
2015 Best for Dining
2015 Best for Embarkation
2015 Best for Entertainment
2015 Best for Public Rooms
2015 Best for Service
2015 Best for Value
2013 Best for Families

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Disney Magic Member Reviews

Disney Magic
Sail Date: Aug 2018
This was the 3rd long'ish (>10 days) cruise we've gone to Europe via the Disney Magic, and it was once again, one of the best vacations we've ever had. So many reasons . . . I will miss many.....Read More
Disney Magic
Sail Date: Feb 2019
Disney Magic unfortunately is a little dated, and small. would try an all-inclusive family resort in mexico next time. I didn't see the value. would consider a newer, larger boat....Read More
Disney Magic
Sail Date: Feb 2019
On the Disney Magic, dinner is not just food, it's a show, a whole production. This was the first time, 5 days in a row our daughter sat at dinner and did not want to watch the ipad....Read More
Disney Magic
Sail Date: Sep 2018
We picked British Isles with the same Disney Magic that we sailed last year. Let's recap from my last review, everything was perfect except for the food....Read More

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